The Bili chimpanzee was discovered in the Bondo region of the Congo’s far north in 2004 in the Bili Forest, its last refuge. The Bili Forest lies
in the Congo’s far north, about 200 kilometers east of the Ebola River, where the deep tropical rain forest are broken by patches of savanna. Dense
jungles and other barriers to mankind’s encroachment have left the region relatively pristine
The Bili chimpanzee is as large as a gorilla and his habits are much more similar to a gorilla. Unlike their smaller cousin, the common chimpanzee
who spend most of their time in the trees the Bili chimpanzee spends most of his time on the ground like a gorilla but walks bipedal and stand over
six feet tall. They are the 'lion killers', who seldom climb trees and are bigger and darker, who hoot when the moon rises and sets something
chimps don't do for fear of attracting lions, leopards and hyenas.
Bili Apes make a distinct vocalization like a howl which seems to be louder when the full moon rises and sets something similar to the Mangani during
the Dum Dum in Tarzan.
A possible example of symbolic communication: On at least 6 occasions, a Bili chimpanzee has been heard drumming or stamping repeatedly and rapidly,
sometimes on a tree buttress but most often on the ground, followed by the rest of the individuals in the party promptly descending from the trees and
moving in the direction of the drum. In fact, hearing this distinctive form of a drum (not as exhuberant and long-lasting as the tree drums made
during the night on tree buttresses) is usually a sign for us that our window of opportunity for an arboreal contact is fast coming to a close. There
are several indications that these drums are made by adult males, who thus may be responsible for directing the travel of the group, but this has yet
to be confirmed. This behaviour, if indeed it is symbolic communication is reminiscent of the symbolic tree-drumming behaviour described by Tarzan of
the Mangani at the Dum - Dum.
Also like a gorilla they build elaborate nest to sleep on at night. In many ways, the Bili apes behave more like gorillas than chimpanzees. For
example, they build ground nests as gorillas do, although with relatively elaborate construction compared to observed gorilla nests, using interwoven
branches and/or saplings, bent down into a central bowl.
Their footprints, which range from 28 to 34 centimeters, are longer than the largest common chimp and gorilla footprints, which average 26 cm and 29
Bili Ape skulls have the prominent brow ridge and sagittal crest of a robust great ape, or gorilla, but other morphological measurements are more like
those of chimpanzees. However, chimpanzee skulls are 190 to 210 millimetres long, but Bili Ape skulls measured more than 220 millimetres, well beyond
the end of the normal chimpanzee range. It doesn't look much like a gorilla, it doesn't look like a chimpanzee. They have a very flat face, a wide
muzzle and their brow-ridge runs straight across and overhangs. They turn gray, very early in life, but instead of turning gray-black like a gorilla,
they turn gray all over. They seldom bother to climb trees, do not succumb to the poison arrows shot by native hunters, and appear unafraid of
predators like their gracile chimpanzee relatives. Certain tribes in the vicinity have even referred to them as "Lion-Killers". Natives have
recounted tales of seeing huge ferocious apes with a taste for killing lions
Bili chimps, common chimpanzees and Bonobos are carnivorous. Chimps are known to eat monkeys, and at times other chimps; Bonobos catch and eat fish.
Bili apes are adapt at all these methods and also are hunters of the smaller mammals. Blue Duiker, a small antelope are prime targets for the Bili.
However, they also display some common chimpanzee characteristics such as utilization of the occasional tree nest. Limited observations thus far have
seen two or three nesting on the ground with a few other nests nearby in low-lying branches. Their diet is also decidedly chimp-like in many respects
consisting mainly of fruits from fruiting trees such as strangler figs are visited often.
The Bili chimpanzee behavior toward humans has baffled and intrigued scientists. There is little to no aggression, yet no fear either. “Gorilla
males will always charge when they encounter a hunter, but there were no stories like that, about the Bili Apes”, according to scientist. Instead,
they would come face-to-face with their human cousins the, stare intently in half-recognition, then slide away quietly. Natives confirmed and
somewhat expanded those observations, saying that when they encountered a large group of Bili Apes, they not only approached, but would actually
surround them with intent curiosity, then slip away.
[edit on 5-6-2007 by junglelord]
mod edit: removed un-needed external quote tags
[edit on 5-6-2007 by UK Wizard]