In 2003, bones were discovered on the Indonesian island of Flores of a primitive small specie of human, named officially Homo floresiensis. The bones gave us a date of 12,000 years ago. Some 10,000 to 20,000 years past the extinction date of Neandertals and Homo Erectus.
Homo Floresiensis stood between three to four feet in height, with a receding forehead and a lack of a chin. All primitive traits Floresiensis shared with earlier hominids. Bone analysis seem to indicate that H Floresiensis was more similar to Chimpanzees and the Australopithecines than modern man, Man’s evolutionary line is fairly convoluted, with numerous offshoots and several species coexisting at the same time. In fact, omitting H Floresiensis, the last 20 to 25 thousand years is the only time in our evolutionary history that man is the only bipedal Hominid on the planet.
The original biped Australopithecus is a direct ancestor of man and officially went extinct 2 million years ago, and as late as 1 million years ago for the more robust version. The later is not thought to be an ancestor to modern man. The reason I bring this up is that weighing at around 55 lb. H Floresiensis is comparable to the Australopithecines who as far as we know never ventured out of Africa. Homo Erectus did and survived until about 25,000 years ago on Java. Java is situated between Flores and Sumatra. H Floresiensis could very well be a late surviving, small version, of H Erectus, but the brain capacity appears to refute that hypothesis. The brain size is actually more in line with a small Chimp brain or once again Australopithecus. Now, with all that out of the way, let’s vacate the past and head to the present.
Using all available data and criteria for determining the possibility of a cryptozoological specie to exist; the Orang Pendek is a certainty. With sightings dating back to the Dutch colonial period in the 1700’s; Orang Pendek is Indonesia’s version of Bigfoot in miniature. Orang Pendek is reported from the island of Sumatra and more specifically from Kerinci national park. Kerinci national park is 15000 square km. One of the most remote rain forest in the world, It is home the Sumatran tiger.
The tiger is endangered and one of our most reliable Orang Pendek sightings comes from tiger conservationist Debbie Martyr : “It walked straight across the valley in front of me, thirty meters away. So Close! I didn’t expect it. I certainly didn’t expect to see it so clearly. It was walking between two trees, vegetation to about hip level. This gorgeous, graceful, very strongly built primate, a big ape, walked out of a legend and into broad daylight, lit up by the sun. If I’d seen it concealed in undergrowth, I could have said, well I saw something. But I didn’t see something. I saw an Orang Pendek”.
Orang Pendek is between 4 and 5 feet in height and extremely muscular. The fur color ranges from black, to brown to reddish. In comparison to its large torso, Orang Pendek has relatively small legs. Close up sightings indicate that when threatened Orang Pendek shows its teeth which has very broad incisors and long canines. Bipedal at all times, it is also an excellent climber.
Other nearby Indonesian islands have their own version of Orang Pendek, including Flores where it is called Ebu Gogo, but considered now extinct. Sumatra is different; there, Orang Pendek sightings are rare but current.
AN AFRICAN CONNECTION
In 1937, Discovery magazine ran a story about Captain Williams Hichens who was lion hunting in what is today Tanzania. While waiting for a potential kill in a forest glade Hichens saw two “little furry men ” briefly walk out of the forest. His native guide informed him that they were called Agogwe and were extremely rare. Hichens described them at 4 feet in height, covered in brown fur and completely bipedal.
The story caught the eye of a British Officer by the name of Cuthbert Burgoyne who wrote to Discovery about his own sighting of the Agogwe in what was then portuguese East Africa and today Mozambique. Mozambique is just below Tanzania. His sighting came from aboard a cargo boat where he witnessed two Agogwes on the beach. His description matched Hichens.
Aside from east Africa, modern day report have also surfaced from western Africa and central Africa. In parts of the Congo, these primates are called Kakundari, and are not to confused with the Bili ape which I’ll discuss shortly. A Kakundari was briefly caught in the late 1960’s by famous animal collector Charles Cordier. Cordier was regularly hired by zoos and museums to obtain various specimens. In any case, the kakundari was briefly caught in one of Cordier’s bird snare, so Cordier got a good look at it. Matching the physical description of the Agogwe, the Kakundari fell face first, reached down to entangled himself and walked away on two legs. On the west coast these hominids are called Sehite and appear to belong to the same specie as the Agogwes.
In 2008, over 100,000 western lowland gorilla were discovered in the Republic of the Congo. Next door in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, lives the Bili apes. Until the mid 2000’s, this animal held the same status as Bigfoot in the United States. It was considered mythical by most. What it turned out to be was a giant chimpanzee, the size of a gorilla. Bipedal ape or primitive human remains to be determined, but since 2003 the existence of a specie such as Orang Pendek is no longer anathema to biology and reality.