The largest ape to have ever existed is the Gigantopithecus blacki, a giant creature that rambled across Southeast Asia.
How big was it?
Based on hundreds of fossilised teeth that have been discovered, scientists believe that this giant ape grew to 3 metres (10 feet) tall and weighed about half a ton. That makes it twice as big as today’s modern gorillas and its arm span would dwarf even that of today’s tallest basketball players.
What did it eat?
Whilst King Kong may have enjoyed the taste of humans, these giant apes were herbivores. Their strong teeth and robust jaws were excellent for chewing tough plants, including bamboo which was its primary source of food. It would also snack on fruit and seeds.
How did it hunt?
This titanic-sized ape had no need to hunt. Nor was it hunted. Its size was too big for the region’s predators, which included tigers. It may not have lounged around chomping on bamboo all day like the panda, but it certainly enjoyed its fill. At 3 metres tall the ape also had no problem reaching into trees for additional goodies.
When was it around?
It probably roamed the Earth as far back as one million years ago. Recent studies suggest it met with extinction as recently as 300,000 years ago. This meant that it may have co-existed with Homo erectus, one of the earliest examples of humankind.
This giant ape was native to Southeast Asia, in the regions today known as China, India and Vietnam. It might not be a great leap then to suggest a link between Gigantopithecus and the mythical Yeti creature believed to be found in the Himalayan Mountains.