Ameranthropoides loysi

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Hiding with Schrödinger's cat

Ameranthropoides loysi is the name of a primate-like creature, allegedly encountered by geologist François De Loys in 1920 near the Tarra River in South America. According to De Loys' account, he and a party of surveyors were attacked by two ape-like creatures; they shot one of them in self-defense. De Loys took a photograph of the creature, and from the photograph it can be seen that the creature is sitting over a crate with a stick under its chin. Many people claim it was a hoax and the creature in the photograph is actually a spider monkey. Others claim the creature has anatomical differences from spider monkeys.[1]

However, multiple accounts tell of De Loys as a prankster and joker who was given a spider monkey with no tail and posed a photo of it on a crate. Further evidence against the original account is the presence of a banana tree, which indicates it was not taken in a jungle. Many cryptozoologists themselves use these pieces of evidence in the case against the creature's existence.[2] Paranormal researcher Jerome Clark notes that the lack of a useful comparison object (say, a human) makes it impossible to determine the creature's size.[3]

While no evidence for the existence of such a creature has ever been found, there is evidence of a darker motive behind the hoax than a simple practical joke or grab for attention. George Montandon, one of De Loys' associates who accompanied him on the expedition, was an outspoken racist who was eventually killed by the French Resistance during World War II for being a Nazi collaborator. He was a supporter of the now-discredited racial theory of "hologenesis", which stated that different ethnic groups were descended from different primates rather than a common human ancestor and this hoax was allegedly an attempt on his part to manufacture "evidence" for the theory.[4]

There is only one known photograph of the creature. Although it is possible that others were taken, none are known to survive. The creature itself was reported to have been skinned and stored, but the remains were understood to be lost later when De Loys' expedition ran into trouble.

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