There really was a Bigfoot at one time. A giant ass intelligent Harry and the Henderson sumbitch.
Classification: Chordata,* Mammalia,* Primates,* Hominidae,* Ponginae.
Species: G.* blacki,* G.* bilaspurensis,* G.* giganteus.
Size: Roughly estimated to be up to* 3* meters tall and up to* 540* kilograms in weight for largest species G.* blacki,* while smaller species like G.* giganteus are only half this size.* However the lack of other known fossils makes these estimates far from certain.
Known locations: China,* India and Vietnam.
Time period: Messinian of the Miocene through to Late Ionian of the Pleistocene.* Possibly slightly later.
Discovery and species
During* 1935* the palaeontologist Gustav Heinrich Ralph von Koenigswald visited a Chinese apothecary shop in Hong Kong and discovered an unusually large molar,* a tooth similar to the large flat ones that you have towards the back of your mouth.* Fossils like this are often found in Traditional Chinese medicine where they are called* ‘dragon bones*’,* but this tooth did not come from a mythical creature,* instead study revealed it to have come from some kind of gigantic ape.* When describing it as a new genus the choice of name was obvious and so von Koenigswald created* Gigantopithecus with literally translates as* ‘giant ape*’.
Since this first discovery over one thousand three hundred teeth have been tracked down,* many of them from the Traditional Chinese medicine market.* More excitingly however are the discoveries of some lower jaws which have allowed palaeontologists and primatologists to infer a little about what Gigantopithecus might have been like.* Unfortunately this is where the clues stop as so far no other parts of the skeleton or even the skull have so far been found.
The most famous species of Gigantopithecus known is G.* blacki which seems to be the largest of the known species.* This was the first species to be named and so far is known from caves in South East Asia* and is represented by both teeth and mandibles.* Another species is G.* giganteus,* but this is something of a misnomer as it actually seems to be only half the size of G.* blacki.* This species is however known from India,* and the size difference might be down to a different climatic adaptation,* even though there is evidence to suggest that it also inhabited parts of China.* Another Indian species is G.* bilaspurensis and this species really stands out from the other two because its remains are dated to as far back as the late Miocene period,* extending the temporal range of* Gigantopithecus for many millions of years between the Miocene and Pleistocene periods.