Most of us in the US are familiar with the cryptid Sasquatch (or Bigfoot) and its Asian counterpart the Yeti (or Abominable Snowman). Those are far from the only mysterious giant apes or hominids lurking in either deep forests or our imagination. In fact, such rarely-seen animals are reported all over the world. Let's take a look at just a few of their lesser-publicized cousins.
The Almastys roam the Caucasus mountains of central Asia. Dr. Marie-Jeanne Koffmann collected over 500 accounts of Almasty sightings in many different languages throughout the Caucasus region, with virtually the same description:
"The Almastys are like people; they have arms and legs like people, except that they are covered with hair. The hair is like that of a bear, and dark. I always saw them without clothing . . . they do not know how to speak; they only mumble or bellow. They are not afraid of people, only of dogs. They run very fast."
2. Skunk Ape
The Skunk Ape appears now and again throughout the American Deep South, from Oklahoma to North Carolina, but most sightings have been reported in Florida. The creature gets its name from its awful odor. In 2000, an anonymous letter accompanied several photographs purporting to show an ape in Myakka City, Florida. The writer of the letter seemed to think this was an escaped orangutan, but no missing ape was reported. Later, an investigation was launched over a horse that was injured by an unknown animal in the same area.
The Amomongo is seen in the Philippines. Police reports record incidents of a man-sized hairy ape attacking villagers and eating animals. The creature is described as five and a half feet tall with very long claws or fingernails.
The Tjutjuna or Chuchunaa lives in Siberia and is thought of as more of a Neandertal-like hominid than an ape. They are said to wear animal skins and live in communities. They also raid villages in the night, and even eat human flesh. Tribal stories of the Chuchunaa go way back, but the first expedition to look for them was in 1928. The last possible sighting was in 2002, when an unknown animal was trapped in the Verkhoyansk region. The remains disappeared, under circumstances that varied from witness to witness.
China's version of the giant cryptid ape is the Yeren. It lives in the remote Shennongjia mountains of Hubei province, and stands six to nine feet tall. It stands like a man, with extra long arms and large hands and feet. The entire creature is covered with hair. Hundreds of sightings have been reported, and the Chinese government is soliciting more. There is some speculation that Yeren and other large Asian cryptids may be surviving members of the extinct ape species Gigantopithecus, which grew up to nine feet tall. The picture is of a Yeren action figure.
6. Fear liath
Fear liath is the name given to a ten-foot-tall humanoid creature that haunts the summit of Ben MacDhui, the second-highest mountain in Scotland. It is also called The Big Grey Man of Ben MacDhui. The creature causes an uncontrollable feeling of dread or panic among hikers who never see it, but feel its presence. The first recorded sighting was by scientist John Norman Collie in 1890, although he was so frightened he didn't tell anyone of the encounter until 1925. When he did, he found that others had seen the same creature on the same mountain, or at least felt his presence.
Japan has its own cryptid ape called Hibagon. It lives around Mt. Hiba near Hiroshima. Sightings began in 1970, in which the animal was described as five feet tall with long arms and a full coat of hair. Some said it has "intelligent human-like eyes." Sightings were numerous until a photograph was taken in 1974. Only two sightings have been reported since then, in 1980 and 1982.
8. Orang Pendek
The Orang-pendek has been sighted numerous times on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. Described as a four-foot-tall ape-man with red hair, some are sure it's an ape while others believe it to be a primitive human. The recent discovery of remains of Homo floresiensis, popularly called the Hobbit, lead some to think that this small species of primitive man may have survived in the wild. Other cryptids in the area are called Orang-mawa, Orang-gugu, and Orang-utan. Oh wait, that last one is a real ape.
The Australian version of the giant cryptid ape is the Yowie. It is described as a bipedal gorilla who lives in wilderness areas (which means most of Australia). The term Yowie is also used for a legendary aboriginal animal which is not an ape, causing some confusion in conversations. You can see a purported Yowie sighting in this video if you don't blink. Yowie hunter Paul Compton took the above photo near Glen Innes in 2007.
Oh yes, there are more cryptid apes from other parts of the world, so take a look at part two of this list, 7 More Mysterious Ape-men.