Geographical Index > United States > China (International) > Article # 217
Media Article # 217
Wednesday, June 25, 1997
Chinese Team Hunting a Red-headed 'Bigfoot'
Researchers hunting for China's elusive, hairy ''Bigfoot'' may have found footprints of the legendary creature, the Xinhua news agency said Tuesday.
Hundreds of very large footprints resembling those of a man -- but much larger-- have been seen in the forests of the mountainous Shennongjia National Park in central Hubei province, the agency quoted Wang Fangchen, head of the privately run Committee for Research on Strange and Rare Creatures, as saying.
''We have made preliminary conclusions that they were left by two animals walking on two legs,'' it said quoting Wang, who has been hunting for the fabled creature for several years.
''The biggest footprint is 37 centimeters (15 inches) long, very similar to that of a man but is quite larger than man's, and is different from the footprints of a bear or any other identified animals,'' Wang said.
He said he believed the creature that made the footprints weighed about 440 pounds.
Wang had led a team of 30 scientists on a fruitless hunt through Shennongjia last summer. He had vowed to resume his search for the fabled 6 1/2-foot-tall, red-haired, human-like creature that is part of local folklore.
Wang's team found similar footprints left by two other mysterious creatures in Shennongjia last winter, Xinhua said.
Progress toward unraveling the myth of the ''wild man'' would be of great scientific significance, Wang said. But he urged caution and warned researchers not to jump to swift conclusions without hard scientific evidence.
Theories abound about the mythical creature, with some scientists speculating that if it exists, it may be an unknown primate, some arguing that it may be a bear or a monkey and others suggesting it could be a missing evolutionary link between ape and human.