Giganto: The Real King Kong

Gretchen found this show on the History Channel tonight. It turned out to be a really good program on Gigantopithecus. Russ Ciochon did a great job -- he should be on TV more. Jack Rink was good, too, and Esteban Sarmiento was very entertaining.

Of course, a lot of the show was devoted to the "mystery ape" aspect, including Bigfoot -- which of course is what so many people are interested in about Gigantopithecus. Even so, this was handled a bit better than in most other programs, with witness interviews and the program following a mystery ape hunt in Washington. Ciochon got his views across very clearly that "mystery apes" are nonsense and have no connection at all to Gigantopithecus.

They also mentioned that the date of the most recent site (earlier than 300,000 years ago) is too old for DNA extraction. But with the crystal aggregate story and the new metagenomic approaches, I think it will be worth a try before long. The Gigantopithecus genome project would be much more worth doing than most.

Meanwhile, the show followed Ciochon and Rink to China, visiting apothecary shops and Gigantopithecus-bearing caves. They collect samples for ESR dating, and Ciochon carries some of von Koenigswald's Gigantopithecus teeth from the Seckenberg Museum to Max Planck for microCT scanning.

The web listing for the show isn't much, but it should tell the next time it will be showing.

Consistently every month I get a high proportion of my Google hits from searches for Gigantopithecus, and of course my Gigantopithecus files are there for your perusal. But you should also check out Ciochon's own site, which is really great.