Chinese researchers have been searching since the 1970s. There have been more than 400 reported sightings of the half-man, half-ape in the Shennongjia area. In the past, explorers have found inconclusive evidence that researchers claimed to be proof of Bigfoot's existence, including hair, footprints, excrement and a sleeping nest, Xinhua reported.Is there no storytelling that we simply will not believe?
This particular quest has a long (and checkered) history. There are legitimate Asian (though not North American) fossils of very large hominid primates called Dryopithecines. There are apparently ancient Chinese manuscripts with references to, and we vaguely remember hearing that they included drawings of, large apes. There was at least one lunatic anthropologist named Grover Krantz, who had tenure and drew salary in an otherwise legitimate university (Washington State) who spent years tracking 'Big Foot'. Geneticists in Anthropology departments get reports of Big Foot sightings -- and requests to do DNA testing -- from the public all the time.
There's a book called The Long Walk, about some WWII prisoners of the Soviet Union who escaped and through many trials managed to cross all the way, over the Gobi Desert, to India. The book is the personal recounting of the adventure by one of the survivors. At one point, in a matter of fact way, the author describes how crossing mountains, they came upon several large, reddish apes of some sort--on the ground, not in trees. The escape party waited til they felt safe before crossing the little valley, skirting these creatures. The validity of this story has been attacked, but there can be various reasons for that.
Now, all of the supposed physical evidence is as bogus as a $3 bill. But at what point do we say that there might be some truth worth searching for? Many cryptozoologists put 2 and 2 together and get 5, which is at best what's going on here. If there really were such a creature (alive today, that is), the odds are vast that we would have found bones or carcasses, or have pictures from someone who stumbled across them. Too many people crawl over the earth for this not to be the case--certainly in North America where there are no wilds too wild not to have been explored or settled.
But one thing that keeps these searches going is that there are many species being discovered in various parts of the world, some of them unexpected. But these are either the many small critturs, like insects and the like, that teem the jungles, or they are deep sea species that are hard to get at. Nothing so spectacular as a huge man-like ape. It's always possible, of course, that there are remote refugia. But such mythical beasts necessarily must be claimed to be in such places, because that's the only way they could have escaped discovery. Even Loch Ness, though not remote, has its deeps.
At least, the Chinese aren't going to spend US taxpayers' money on this wild-ape chase. Well, at least not directly--since a lot of the money in China got there because Americans wanted their cheap junk, maybe we're paying for that wasted research, too.