Member of The Crypto Crew:

Please Also Visit our Sister Blog, Frontiers of Anthropology:

And the new group for trying out fictional projects (Includes Cryptofiction Projects):

And Kyle Germann's Blog

And Jay's Blog, Bizarre Zoology

Friday, 11 March 2011

Vietnamese Rock Apes

The following is forwarded from the Forest Giants discussion group on Yahoo:

Viet Rock Apes: Vet Confirmation Message #15684

Re: Viet Rock Apes: Vet Confirmation Message #15685 of 15685

Now this is interesting and highly useful information, Loren, Thank you
for posting that.

I have been interested in the reports of Rock Apes ever since I started
getting rumors from returned Vietnam veterans in the 1970s, only at that
point they called them "Orangutans": I heard the reports for years and
especially when I was making inquiries into the matter about 1980, at
which time I heard a LOT about them. I notified the SITU at the time and
was requested to submit a report for PURSUIT by then-editor [Bob Warth]
who had the idea they were remnant Gigantopithecus. Later on I contacted
Bernard Heuvelmans who became very excited ant put me in touch with Helmut
Loofs-Wissowa, and I had some telephone conversations with them in the
early 1990s. They thought I was talking about the Nguoi Rung or Forest
People (Wildmen) which they thought were Neanderthals and which
Heuvelmans connected to the Minnesota Iceman.

I had to tell them all that I disagreed categorically from my
information, that there were undoubtedly both the Wildmen and the Giant
types being reported in Vietnam but these Rock Apes from my information
were actually APES and just about the size, shape and behavior of a rowdy
bunch of chimpanzees, although the colouration given was often reddish
brown. The same descriptions were given to me independantly by
Vietnamese War veterans and Boat People refugees, I would have to say
the bulk of my information came from the refugees and it was very
detailed. This included the information that they ordinarily walked on
all fours but advanced to the attack bipedally, and that it was foolish
to engage a single individual hand-to-hand because they were such savage
fighters, armed with great strength and long fangs.

I have a posting on the CFZ blog summarizing the information I had.
Bernard Heuvelmans also had a category on his checklist for surviving
mainland orangutans, and I understand that my information was moved to
that file after we discussed the matter in more depth: Richard Muirhead
at the CFZ was very eager to get me on an expedition to Vietnam to go
look for the things (and the Meikong River Monster) a few months back
and so at that time I was put in contact with local zoological
authorities and Cryptozoologists (and we engaged in interminable
discussions about the things) but when all was said and done, I found
that basically nobody I contacted knew any more about the Rock Apes than
what I heard from the Boat People. More than once I was told that they
must be stump-tailed macaque monkeys and I would have to admit that
would have to be the next-best identification. But my informants always
made a distinction between the Rock Apes and the "Bear monkeys"-the
"Rock apes" were maybe twice the size of the monkeys, shorter than an
average man and very muscular.

The name the Vietnamese used in my interviews most often was Da Nhan,
which translates directly as "Wild Man" or "Man of the Jungle" just like
"Orang Utan"and they showed me in their dictionaries where the two terms
were translated as each other: "Orangutan" was likewise translated as
"Da Nhan". "Gorilla" translated as "BIG Da Nhan"

There ARE of course legitimate reports of[Standard] Wildmen and the Wildmen are
more often seen travelling alone, not in dangerous mobs. The individual
creature that was captured and brought to the American officer for
examination was a good [Standard] Wildman type and the report is curiously
reminiscent of Russian and Chinese reports where Wildmen were captured
and brought to the local army officers in the field for examination. But
Wildmen are different than apes and they never go on all-fours and the
Vietnamese Wildmen[English] are not the same as the Rock Apes[Da Nhan].Vietnamese Wildmen are however very likely the same as Chinese Wildmen [English-Chinese Yeren]

As I recall, Bobbie Short and I also had harsh words when I was trying
to make the distinction to her. All I am doing is laying it straight the
way I got the info.

Best Wishes, Dale D."

Bobbie Short immediately sent me a reply in complaint that I would say such a thing in public. I replied that I was not singling her out, I was merely trying to get the point across that EVERYONE I tried to contact about the matter was being contentious with me and EVERYONE already had an explanation for the reports which IMHO did not adequately fit the descriptions I was being given.

"I am not smart enough to get the lesson, but I bet if that were a real wild baboon he just might have kicked the trappers ass. My uncle thought one of his buddies was screwing with him on patrol in the Vietnam highlands, kept throwing rocks on him while they were trying to sleep. So....he eased up the hill and jumped him only to find out it was a rock ape. He told me to never jump on a rock ape as he will beat the shit out of you. Unc is gone now, I miss him and his war stories." -comment by blindshooter on 04/17 at 08:47 AM

Which was answered by the addition of a baboon photo:

But EVERYBODY knows what a Rock Ape Looks Like:

[Available at zazzle: ]


  1. BTW, I did several composite drawings of Rock Apes from the Vietnamese information that I sent to the SITU in the 1980s (and then a resubmission for PURSUIT just after 1990) and I'd have to say the face I drew looks like the face of the monkey on the mousepad, especially with the wide cheek pads. I assume these are like an orangutan's cheekpads.

  2. BTW, I just received the information that the term "Rock Ape" was well-known at least by 1968, there is a photo on the yahoo photo search that shows a US Marine that was being called that as a nickname and it was already in reference to earlier Rock Ape reports.

    I neglected to mention that some of my information about reports from the US Military personnel came to me by way of the IU (Bloomington) Department of Anthropology in 1982 but referring to events that had happened a decade earlier.

  3. I also received an email in my personal account which said nothing but "Bravo!" and gave the writer's name. I can only assume it was a Vietnam War vet that had been ribbed about his stories of "Rock Apes" over the years and he was glad to have some independant confirmation.

  4. I served with Echo Company 2/3 Marines in 1969. We spent most of our time living in the jungle and our area of operations was the extreme N.W. corner of what was then South Vietnam.
    I have seen rock apes. They were common in that area. Rumor was that they learned to throw rocks from Marines that had thrown rocks at them. We also threw rocks at a Vietnamese kids who followed us when we were near their villages so the rumor was plausible.
    At night they would approach our defensive perimeter and throw rocks. There is no difference in the sound of a rock thumping to the ground or a hand grenade. Sometimes, at night, a Marine would hear a thud within our position and yell 'Incoming'. At that point every Marine in the platoon was awake and firing at the area in front of their foxholes. We all would stay awake the rest of the night waiting for an enemy attack that never came.


This blog does NOT allow anonymous comments. All comments are moderated to filter out abusive and vulgar language and any posts indulging in abusive and insulting language shall be deleted without any further discussion.