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The Bondo Mystery Apes

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posted on Jun, 5 2007 @ 12:32 AM
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 cm, respectively.

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]

posted on Jun, 5 2007 @ 05:10 AM
Thank you, Junglelord, for bringing these wonderful creatures to our attention. I have to admit, before reading your post, I had not heard of the Bili apes but now, after ingesting every thing you wrote, I feel both pleasantly enlightened and fearful for their future.

Whilst it is very easy to project seemingly 'proto human' atributes onto these magnificent animals, their behaviour does seem odd. While I am absolutley no expert on ape habits, reading of their almost swaggering confidence really does smack of a thinking, reasoning being that has gained mastery over its surroundings. And the reports of certain of their number being 'lion killers' (bearing in mind this may be exagerated), brings to the fore the thought that they are capable of, and willing to, defend those surroundings.

It's a shame however, but came as no real surprise, that the image link suplied was of a dead Bili, killed by perhaps their only real predator. Us.
Surely a bipedal ape that uses long range, artificial communication methods, makes comfortable night shelters, 'celebrates' the rising and setting of the moon, and is apparently unafraid of humans should be protected (as should, ultimately, all of their cousins) at all costs?

It is incredibly poignant that they have been observed making eye contact with us, face to face, seemingly without fear for themselves or their territory. What an incredible experience that must have been for the scientists who were present. I wonder how many far-reaching questions begged to be answered, but went unspoken, amongst that learned group? The Bili's behaviour clearly indicates to this untrained observer, that they recognised something, some shared part of our genetic make up, that made them feel comfortable in human company.

As we read of other animals recognising the onset of earthquakes, or sensing 'paranormal' activity, perhaps the Bili are party to a simpler, but purer, set of instincts. It's just my opinion, but maybe this unfiltered view of the world allows them to see humans for what we truly are, and because of that, they trust us. That is the most heartrending show of association, an incredible testament to a real and solid link between species.

From that shocking photo of the two grinning hunters, it's a shame that trust is betrayed.

posted on Jun, 5 2007 @ 08:43 AM
Jane Goodall has seen gracile chimps kill leopards so killing a lion as a group is not that out of the ordinary espcially since leopards are pound for pound the strongest and most dangerous cat in africa.

The Bili Bondo Chimp is indeed a special creature and it goes to show that the existance of large apes is still being discovered...

Kinda gives us hope for the Sasquatch mystery, as even Miss Goodall believes the Sasquatch is real.

As you pointed out the real menance is man.
Good to see sasquatch protection bills even though its still a myth, because we know all man wants to do is kill.

[edit on 5-6-2007 by junglelord]


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