Does the Orang Pendek Exist?

Post 699

The Orang PendekThree feet tall. Covered in dark grey or perhaps black hair. More powerful than you can imagine. A creature spoken of in awe. One of broad shoulders and a huge chest and upper abdomen. Two mightily powerful arms. Legs short and small. A head adorned with a distinct crest. It’s mouth small and neat, full of sharp and prominent teeth. This is the Orang Pendek. A mysterious creature said to inhabit remote and mountainous forests on the island of Sumatra…

Dutch settlers were the first to provide westerners with tales of this creature that had, until that point, firmly remained a local tale. British researcher Debbie Martyr and photographer Jeremy Holden engaged in a 15-year project to document eyewitness accounts of the animal and to find evidence that it, indeed, existed. Yet all they found were a few footprints.

Toward the end of the project, scientists elsewhere were analysing hairs and casts of a footprint discovered by three British men. The results were puzzling. The footprints had a blend of features from a gibbon, to an orang-utan, to a chimpanzee and even a human. They did not match any known species.

And so sparked a series of endeavours to find this elusive primate. Camera-trapping projects that came to nothing and expeditions that found nothing. And so we remain clueless as to what, if anything, lurks in the forests of Sumatra.

Some blame misidentification. Others say that it’s an early species of hominid still surviving. Some even think it’s a feral child or perhaps a local bear. Maybe, even, the humble orang-utan. But most still cling to the hope that it’s something new.

What are we to make of all this? There have been hundreds of sightings over the last century by local villagers, yet many investigations have found nothing at all. Yet the analysis of things such as mysterious hair and footprints back in the early 2000s gives us the most tantalising glimpse yet that, indeed, there is something out there. But what still eludes us.

So I’ll give this creature an 85 on my patented Cryptid-o-Meter, putting it 5th in the list of 28, with the Basilisk still bottom and the Beast of Gévauden still holding top spot.

The Orang Pendek. A fascinating cryptid indeed.

Ciao :)(:


Image (Click on It to Enlarge)
1) An aritst’s impression of the Orang Pendek
(credit: theguardian.com/science/blog/2011/sep/08/orang-pendek-sumatra-mystery-ape)


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The Indelible Life of Me
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