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MANISTIQUE, Michigan (AP) -- Researchers will visit Michigan's Upper Peninsula next month to search for evidence of the legendary creature known as "Bigfoot" or "Sasquatch."
The expedition will focus on eastern Marquette County, said Matthew Moneymaker of the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization.
"We'll be looking for evidence supporting a presence. ... We hope to meet local people who might have seen a Sasquatch or heard of someone else who had an encounter," Moneymaker told the Daily Press of Escanaba.
Giant Asian Ape and Humans Coexisted, Might Have Interacted
The beast weighed nearly half a ton (500 kilograms), making it more than twice the size of the largest modern ape, Ciochon estimates.
"Clearly it was dramatically bigger than a gorilla," he said. But, like a gorilla, it presumably walked on all fours.
Researchers have wondered whether Gigantopithecus shared a 10-million-year-old ancestor with Asia's only modern great ape, the orangutan.
The extinct giant ape's teeth share many structural traits with those of the purported ancestor, Sivapithecus, indicating that the two species are closely related.
But recent x-rays allowed Ciochon and his colleagues in Germany to peer inside the Gigantopithecus teeth. The scientists concluded that orangutans' teeth aren't similar to the other species, suggesting that the modern primates evolved from a different branch of the ape family, Ciochon says.