De Loys Ape

The name de Loys’ Ape refers to a 5-foottall (1.5m) ape-man supposedly discovered by Swiss oil geologist François de Loys during an expedition to South America. Between 1917 and 1920, Francois de Loys explored the swamps, rivers, and mountains west and southwest of Lake Maracaibo near the Colombia-Venezuela border. The participants are said to have suffered considerable hardship and a number died from disease or at the hands of hostile natives. In its last year, what remained of the expedition was camped on the banks of a branch of the Tarra River. Suddenly two creatures, male and female, stepped from out of the jungle. De Loys at first thought they were bears, but as they advanced on the camp, he could see they were apes of some sort, around five feet in height. His account omits the crucial detail of whether they were walking on two or four feet.

The creatures, giving every indication of being furious, broke off branches from nearby trees and wielded them as weapons, meanwhile crying and gesticulating vigorously. Finally they defecated into their hands and hurled the results at the party, who by now had their rifles to their shoulders. In the gunfire that followed, the female was killed, and the wounded male escaped back into the underbrush. Though no one in the expedition was a zoologist, everyone understood that the animal was something out of the ordinary. Even the native guides swore they had never seen anything like it. Propping it up with a stick,members sat it on a gasoline crate and took a picture of it at a distance of ten feet. According to de Loys, “Its skin was afterward removed, and its skull and jaw were cleaned and preserved.”

Though de Loys did not explicitly acknowledge as much, he and his starved compatriots apparently ate the animal’s flesh. Later the other remains were lost. Of the original twenty members of the expedition, only four survived. The photograph, however,was discovered by a friend of de Loys’s, anthropologist George Montandon, when the latter reviewed de Loys’s records and other expedition materials. Montandon was looking for information on a South American Indian tribe but considered the picture so important that he laid plans, as he wrote, to “go to the area in question to find the great ape of America.” De Loys, he noted, had expressed no urgent interest in publishing or otherwise publicizing the photograph. Only at Montandon’s insistence was it brought to the world’s attention in 1929, when he reported it in papers that appeared in three French scientific journals. In these Montandon honored its discoverer by offering the formal name Ameranthropoides loysi for what he contended was a new animal. That same year de Loys told his story publicly for the first time in the popular magazine Illustrated London News (June 15).

Modern skeptics suspect that Montandon himself created the photograph. At the time Montandon made the photograph public, though, skeptics accused de Loys, rather than Montandon, of perpetrating a hoax. Like modern skeptics, they thought that the photograph was of a spider monkey, which they knew to be common in South America. Skeptics also said that had the creature truly been a 5-foot-tall (1.5m) ape-man, de Loys would have made a greater effort to get its skin back to civilization. As a result of their attacks, most people came to believe that de Loys had invented the ape-man in order to make a name for himself as the discoverer of a new species.

What interests cryptozoologists is that de Loys was apparently not the first to see this creature, which natives in the area called mono grande, or “big monkey.” As early as the sixteenth century, Spanish explorers who visited South America not only heard reports of such animals from natives but also wrote of seeing the remains of mono grande themselves.

Since then, several other explorers and naturalists, have reported seeing de Loys’ ape. In 1968, archaeologist Pino Turolla glimpsed two apelike creatures in the Venezuelan jungle. In 1997, British travel writer Simon Chapman searched for the Mono rey of northern Bolivia but found no compelling evidence. He heard rumors that a pelt had been purchased by a foreigner for DNA analysis and that a living animal had been exhibited at the zoo in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

Mysterious Creatures: "A Guide to Cryptozoology" by George M. Eberhart;
The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Paranormal Phenomena by Patricia d. Netzley;
Unexplained: "Strange Sightings, Incredible Occurences & Puzzling Physical Phenomena" by Jerome Clark;

Pic Source:
Unexplained: "Strange Sightings, Incredible Occurences & Puzzling Physical Phenomena" by Jerome Clark page 312

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