BIPEDAL APE COULD GIVE CLUES TO HOW MANKIND EVOLVED
An unknown species of Indonesian ape could shed light on how our own human ancestors began to walk erect. The orang-pendek of Sumatra is said to be a powerfully-built ape that walks on two legs like a man. Both native people and western explorers, including two noted scientists, have reported the creature from the deep jungle.
This week four English scientists and explorers will brave the rainforest in search of the orang-pendek. The team from the Centre for Fortean Zoology will spend two weeks in Sumatra working with the Kubu people, the island’s original inhabitants, who will help them track the mysterious ape.
The expedition comes shortly after the announcement of the discovery of a fossil hominid in Georgia. The Dmansis hominids lived 1.8 million years ago and had legs like modern humans, but primitive arms. Their early occurrence has made scientists rethink how hominids moved out of Africa to colonise the rest of the world.
Richard Freeman, the team’s zoologist, says…
“It was once thought that our ancestors became bipedal when they descended from the trees and moved onto the grasslands of East Africa in order to exploit new food sources. However, now it seems that many apes and hominids were moving ‘bipedally’ whilst they were still rainforest dwellers.
As well as being a major zoological discovery, the orang-pendek could give us some clues on how bipedalism developed.”
The group’s trip will be recorded on the Centre for Fortean Zoology’s website at
NOTES TO EDITORS
* The Centre for Fortean Zoology [CFZ] is the world’s largest mystery animal research organisation. It was founded in 1992 by British author Jonathan Downes and is a non-profit making (not for profit) organisation registered with H.M. Stamp Office.
* Life-president of the CFZ is Colonel John Blashford-Snell OBE, best known for his groundbreaking youth work organising the ‘Operation Drake’ and ‘Operation Raleigh’ expeditions in the 1970s and 1980s.
* CFZ Director Jonathan Downes is the author and/or editor of over 20 books.
* The CFZ have carried out expeditions across the world including
* CFZ Press are the world’s largest publishers of books on mystery animals. They also publish Animals & Men, the world’s only cryptozoology magazine, and The Amateur Naturalist, Britain’s only dedicated magazine on the subject.
* The CFZ produce their own full-length documentaries through their media division called CFZtv at www.cfztv.org. One of their films, Lair of the Red Worm, which was released in early 2007 and documents their 2005 Mongolia expedition, has now been seen by nearly 50,000 people.
* The CFZ is based in Jon Downes’s old family home in rural
* Jonathan Downes presents a monthly web TV show called On the Track (http://cfzmonthly.blogspot.com/), which covers cryptozoology and the work of the CFZ.
* The CFZ are opening a Visitor Centre and Museum in Woolsery,
* Following their successful partnership with Capcom www.capcom.com on the 2007