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Thursday, 24 February 2011

Ameranthropoides 2: Photo Demonstration

In the following comparisons, mostly the commoner, cropped version of DeLoy's photo shall be used. For reference and in a few special shots, the uncropped version will be preferable.

Commonly the DeLoy photograph will be placed alongside a photo of a spidermonkey to bring the similarities to the mind of the viewer. If the viewer is astute, however, it will become apparent that the details of the Spidermonkey's anatomy and DeLoy's ape are all different. In particular, the hands and feet are different enough to be diagnostic. Whatever DeLoy's ape is, it is NOT a spidermonkey.

[Image of an ordinary-sised spidermonkey to scale with standard petrol crate commonly used in Latin America, from the Wikipedia article on Ameranthropoides]

Ameranthropoides and spidermonkey reduced to the common scale of the crate for reference to BOTH of them]

The Ameranthropoides photo is often viewed uncritically and superficially. It is in some ways an odd photograph in that shadows can play tricks on it. Much is made of the presumed sexual organ that appears between the creature's legs. In fact this is a trick of the light and one of its edges is demonstrably the shadow of the stick. Furthermore, this area is only a highlighted part of the crate itself: the texture of the wood area on either side of the leg matches in two different strips (click on photo for larger view. Both textures are unmistakable and are identical for each sampled area in the corresponding boxes. The 'animal' ends much higher up than usually supposed and consequently it is seated with its rump further back than supposed).

[As is noted in Wikipedia, the area where the photo was taken is actually outside of Spidermonkey range. Most of Venezuela is without spidermonkeys]

Please notice hole in range map.

Despite what Sanderson says, spider monkeys do not have the same limb proportions as the creature in DeLoy's photo. Furthermore, it is readily apparent that the smaller monkeys have eyes of a different structure: "Beady little eyes" as opposed to the larger and more human-like eyes of the DeLoy ape. This is a function of ABSOLUTE size, showing that it actually IS much larger than a spider monkey. Furthermore, its fingers and toes are noticeably much larger and stronger in the creature in the photograph, while the fingers and toes of a spider monkey look almost flimsy in comparison. They also line up and work together rather like the digits in a seal's flippers, in a bundle.

As mentioned, spider monkeys are of the genus Ateles. They not only have thumbs that are commonly missing, but their big toes are reduced and often missing as well. They have a much greater development of a prehensile tail to compensate them for their weaker hands and feet.

[spider monkey, and skeleton]

Preserved museum spider monkey hand and skeletal hand

Thumbs of the Ameranthropoid. These are reduced but similar to the thumbs in siamangs and orangutans. The left hand is above, right below. Some argument might be made about the thumb on the left hand as it is not too clear, but the right hand is not only shown clearly, it also clearly has a thumb nail.

Feet of the Ameranthropoid. These are clearly NOT the feet of a spider monkey! Furthermore the muscular toes would be developed in the absence of a tail since in spider monkeys there is a trade-off in use of the feet and use of the prehensile tail. These feet with the well-developed big toe-thumbs are most like the feet of gibbons and siamangs.

left foot in profile, unaltered original below

Photo of right foot showing well-developed opposed big toe meant for strong grasping and climbing.

Museum preserved specimen of spider monkey showing foot, and view of skeleton. Big toe is much less developed and can be missing altogether.

Feet of a gibbon, standing on a pane of glass.

Obviously much more developed big toes, and other toes in opposition.

Face of the Ameranthropoid. What struck me immediately were its eyes; almost of a human design and proportion. These are not the eyes of a small monkey but are much more like the eyes of a gibbon or small ape.

The teeth are fortunately shown and they are orthognathous, with an even bite. And although the structure of the area around the eyes and even the structure of the nose resemble a spider monkey, in fact those features are not EXCLUSIVE to spider monkeys. In fact, Siamangs have features that are very similar also.

I was very much surprised to learn that the median strip on a siamang's nose can measure out as very nearly "Platyrhinne" like a New World monkey's nose. There is of course some degree of individual variation involved. And the area around the eyes is also like a siamang's in the DeLoys photo, as well as the pattern of hair growth on the top of the head (although shorter).

A spider monkey's teeth are not orthognathous but jut out to the front. The DeLoy animal does NOT have a spider monkey's teeth. Furthermore, the jaws are very definitely heavier and more rounded.

Spider monkey skull on the left; female siamang on the right. From Bone Clones. It's a pity they are not in closer parallel position for comparison, but it is plain to see that the spider monkey's jaws are like a set of small pinch pliers whereas the siamang's jaws are aligned for a stronger vertical bite.

 I am satisfied from what I can see of the teeth in the DeLoy photograph that the teeth are much the same as a siamang's and that combined with the shape of the hands and feet and face make a pretty strong case for a direct relationship as far as I am concerned.

Female Siamang with young

Male Siamang seated. Note the form of the hands and feet, including the thumbs.

Male Siamang walking. They are HABITUAL bipeds. They NORMALLY walk that way.

I have said before that I think Mapinguaris are basically orangutans that crossed the Bering straits in prehistoric times. I also think that the ancestors of siamangs went with them. The Ameranthropoides are not identical to the regular siamangs by a long way, but they are similar enough that they could be descended from the same ancestors. And although the creature in the DeLoy photograph is large even by siamang standards, the more usual size might well be closer to three feet tall. Indeed, both Sanderson and Coleman count the "protopygmy" Shirus and DiDis to be usually from three to five feet tall and described in terms such as might describe a siamang. I include a map of similar creatures as reported in South America.
Ameranthropoides loysi is NOT an UNKNOWN animal. It is an animal that was properly named and described in the 1920s. It is a DISPUTED animal, something which is quite a different category again.
Since then, people in South America continue to see Mono Grandes and they refer back to the photo saying "What I saw looked like that." I always refer back to that and say "That tells me there could be something to it." And then again, whenever somebody says that DeLoys photographed a spider monkey, I always say "Look at the FEET. Spider monkeys do NOT have feet anything like that."


Best Wishes, Dale D.


  1. One thing which strikes me is this: the animal was supposed to have been killed by a shot from a firearm. Where is the bullet wound?

  2. Heuvelmans does not say and I have not read the original report. I should not make any attempt to say because I do not know and have no way of knowing. I would assume it was a shot to the belly from the story. The creature is most obviously dead, whatever the cause. That does bring up another point: a bullet wound would be less apparent on a larger body than the same bullet wound would be on a smaller body (Like a spidermonkey's)-So the fact that the wound is not readily obvious could be taken as an indication that it is of a fairly large size.

  3. One of the pictures of the De loys ape above is referred to as uncropped. Many years ago I saw the same picture but on one side slightly back stood De loys in bush clothing and large brimmed hat, on the other side, one of the locals. I dont know if the purpose was to give perspective or take credit but the effect was to make the ape look a bit larger.
    I havn't been able to locate the picture again but it is still probably in the older cryptozoological books collecting dust on someones shelves, either in english or french etc. I have suspected that DeLoys picture has been removed for political reasons but the whole picture really ought to be available to interested persons!
    Just a couple of links that might be of interest,here::

  4. Why thank you, this is absolutely splendid to know. And yes, I was aware of those postings from before, I had made reference to Giant orangutans in one of my earlier blogs for the CFZ. But I absolutely had not seen the other DeLoys photo you spoke of-undoubtedly one of the ones that was thought to have been lost in the flood on the way back from the expedition.

    And yes, I am certain that would have been for political reasons that have no business being attached to the photo nor even to DeLoys himself, so far as we know.

  5. Second link includes the best analysis of the "DeLoys ape" I've seen. It completely erodes my supposition (based on comments by Ivan T. Sanderson) that the photo was of a large spider monkey. Sharing link on my Facebook page.

  6. Looks like I'm near if not in the swath of reports or native lore on your map, although probably a little high at 2,100 meters.


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