The Great Ape Behavioral Parallel

By Daryl Colyer and Alton Higgins

A hunter claims that he watched a wood ape hunt, slay and carry off a wild hog weighing roughly 100 to 125 pounds.

A farmer claims that he watched a wood ape pick up and attempt to carry off one of his domestic hogs, a 400-pound boar, before he fired at the creature, causing it to drop the hog.

Wood apes that carry off calves. Wood apes robbing chicken pens. Are such claims outrageous? At first glance, perhaps so.

However, when one considers that such behavior has parallels among the known non-human great apes, such activity no longer seems so outlandish.

Chimpanzees, for example, are known to be omnivores. They eat meat, sometimes hunting and eating monkeys and other small animals.

Now there is photographic evidence that chimps also hunt, slay and eat wild pigs.
 

Frodo, a 121-pound male chimpanzee, refuses to share what remains of a wild pig that he hunted and killed. Photograph: Cyril Ruoso/Wildlife Photographer of the Year


What is particularly interesting is that reports of wood apes hunting, killing, and/or carrying off hogs, calves, deer, goats and other large animals, all originated well before chimpanzees were known to engage in comparable behaviors. For example, an 1851 Arkansas newspaper account described "a wild man of the woods" seen "pursuing a herd of cattle, who were flying in a state of great alarm, as if pursued by a dreaded enemy."

The "animal bearing the unmistakable likeness of humanity" ran away from his observers "with great speed, leaping from twelve to fourteen feet at a time." The footprints measured thirteen inches each; the wild man was "of gigantic structure, the body being covered with hair." The "singular creature" pursuing the cattle clearly met the description of a wood ape. 

A fully-grown male chimpanzee usually ranges in size from 120 to 140 pounds, and averages between four and five feet in height. The average reported height for wood apes in the TBRC data base is roughly seven feet in height. Given the muscle density of the known great apes, it seems reasonable to propose that a seven-foot wood ape might easily carry a 200-pound hog or two, especially if chimpanzees can hunt, kill, carry and eat wild pigs.

Other wood ape behavioral characteristics have been reported well before similar behaviors were documented among non-human great apes. In general, such correlations can be seen as lending credence to this form of anecdotal evidence.

Source: National Geographic News.

Other interesting links: Nature.com; Smithsonian.com.

Incident reports by region

Click on a state:

Findincidentreports-map

Or select a state and county:

Recent incident reports

RSS

Occurred 7/9/1988 in Sebastian County, AR

Published on November 3, 2017 Icon-photo-off Icon-video-off

Fisherman has close encounter on lake in western Arkansas. Read more...

Occurred 5/7/2016 in Atoka County, OK

Published on June 17, 2016 Icon-photo Icon-video-off

Two NAWAC Investigators find interesting trackway. Read more...

Occurred 1/4/2016 in Walker County, TX

Published on March 22, 2016 Icon-photo Icon-video-off

Husband and wife observe massive upright animal in Sam Houston National Forest on FM 1375 Baker Bridge at Lake Conroe one hour apart. Read more...

Occurred 6/8/2014 in Gonzales County, TX

Published on July 8, 2014 Icon-photo Icon-video-off

Couple has an encounter while hiking in Palmetto State Park. Read more...

Occurred 12/20/1983 in Walker County, TX

Published on December 21, 2013 Icon-photo Icon-video-off

Hunter has close encounter in Sam Houston National Forest near Stubblefield Recreational Area. Read more...

Occurred 12/24/1976 in Tyler County, TX

Published on March 11, 2013 Icon-photo Icon-video-off

Close highway encounter on Highway 287 near Woodville. Read more...

Occurred Fall 2003 in Polk County, TX

Published on March 7, 2013 Icon-photo Icon-video-off

Couple has highway encounter near Big Thicket National Preserve. Read more...

Occurred 4/3/2012 in Liberty County, TX

Published on April 21, 2012 Icon-photo Icon-video-off

Man out walking for exercise at local track has unexpected encounter with upright hair-covered subject. Read more...

Occurred 5/15/2009 in Burnet County, TX

Published on April 11, 2012 Icon-photo Icon-video-off

Motorist has late-night encounter near Balcones Canyon Lands National Wildlife Refuge. Read more...

Occurred 5/1981 in Travis County, TX

Published on November 15, 2011 Icon-photo-off Icon-video-off

Airman reports night-time encounter on Bergstrom AFB. Read more...

View all sightings...