Gigantopithicus blacki is a prehistoric ape in the orangutan family that, if size projections taken from teeth and jawbones bear out, is the largest ape ever to have lived, standing about ten feet tall and weighing in at 1,200 pounds. Because of its proportions it has been pointed to as a possible origin of the bigfoot and yeti mythos -- and indeed the Asiatic creature having lived about a hundred thousand years ago could indeed have coexisted with humans. Whether it made its way across the ice age era arctic bridge to live in seclusion in the Pacific Northwest is a much more speculative point (but perhaps not an utter impossibility -- perhaps just a mite greater than the possibility that these apes were intelligent enough to realize the direction that man was going, and to withdraw to an underground kingdom where they now remain hidden through a super-advanced cloaking device).

But contrary to some tall tales it was not the inspiration for King Kong, the earliest evidence of the ape having been recognized as such in 1935, two years after the film broke giant-ape ground (though Peter Jackson's 2005 remake did give the historical beast a nod in the production notes). Naturally, the real deal, though towering over humans, was nowhere near the size of Kong, nor even of the title beast of Mighty Joe Young.

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