Yucatan Gorillas

Posted by: Loren Coleman on March 11th, 2008

French cryptozoologist Michel Raynal writes:

“You may remember that in the Ameranthropoid saga, there is a frequent mention of gorilla-like statues found in Yucatan. Montandon alluded to these statues in 1929, and published an article with photographs in 1931.”

Raynal shares these with Cryptomundo:

Gorilla-like statues in Yucatan

Gorilla-like statues in Yucatan

Link to document. Gorilla-like statues in Yucatan

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

27 Responses to “Yucatan Gorillas”

  1. Spinach Village responds:

    Wow they do resemble gorillas… because of the pot bellies and the super thick forearms… The curious thing, is that they are both portrayed standing upright comfortably. Very interesting, for obvious sasquatchy reasons..

    Thanks, this blog is a great morning read…

  2. Dragonheart responds:

    How about giant sloths? Are there any giant sloth fossils in Yucatan?

  3. sschaper responds:

    The quality of the images is low. This leads to many possibilities being open:

    a)Just plain humans (stylized)
    b)A Phoenecian ship carrying captive apes getting blown off course?
    c)Stylized spider monkeys
    d) mythical monkey-human deity?
    e)could these be related to the ‘African’ heads of the Olmec? Could they be half-remembered from the first Americans, the Melanesians who came by sea to the west coast of South America?

  4. red_pill_junkie responds:

    Dios Mío! I had never seen those images before in my life! They are incredibly interesting.

    Where are these statues now?

    sschaper, you might be interested to know, that at the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico city, thre are quite a few mysterious stelas and statues from the olmec culture, that seem to ressemble people of semithic or fenician caracteristics. That, along with other interesting figurines that seem to depict people of asian or mongoloid origins, but are explained by modern academia as men with feline characteristics, since the jaguar was quite possibly the most important totemic animal for the olmecs. Olmec, by the way, was not even the original name of these people, it was a much later name given by the aztec overlords, which means “people of the rubber”, since the natural rubber that is extracted from the trees of those jungles, was vital for the ceremonial ball matches held among the aztecs and the mayas too. The fact is that we don’t even know exactly what the olmecs looked like, since all the bone and fossil remains were dissolved by the acidic soil of the jungles…

    The olmec is a fascinating culture, and what bugs me the most is that myriads of archeological remains were bulldozered and destroyed by the mexican oil company Pemex, in the states of Tabasco and Veracruz, for the sole purpose of mantaining the world’s insatiable lust for “black gold”. Imagine the treasures and knowledge lost forever in the deep jungles 🙁

  5. squatch-toba responds:

    HHHMMMM….Mexican Sasquatches…Very interesting indeed!!!

  6. mystery_man responds:

    Red_pill_junky- Very interesting information on the Olmec culture. It is much appreciated.

    These sorts of statues are always interesting to speculate about. It is sad that since the cultures that manufactured them, as well as maybe even the animals that inspired them, are gone and we may never know any concrete answers. Also, the destruction of remains that Red_pill_junky describes means that we may not even really get a good chance to adequately piece together what happened either. It is quite sad.

    As far as these particular statues go, I agree with sschaper’s ideas on what they could be. The problem with these is that they are so worn down by time, that I think comparisons to apes is pretty subjective. Like I said, we may never know what these were actually meant to depict.

  7. Endroren responds:

    These images come from a report written by George Montandon. Besides being a raving racist who wrote a number of papers about how skull shape defines superior/inferior races, he was a hobbyist anthropologist (excellent article on the French wikipedia).

    In addition, he is one of the people who studied and reported on this rather well known case: https://cryptomundo.com//cryptozoo-news/de-loys-x/

    So while the idea is interesting, the source makes me take this with a grain of salt.

    Apparently the statues reside at the History Museum of Merida although as far as I can tell they have no website.

    I have to say, although it’s fun to say “It looks like an Ape!” I think that is a huge stretch. South American art regularly exaggerates features. This is just as easily a group of kneeling men with large bellies. I don’t think these are apes any more than other south american sculptures depict space men.

  8. sschaper responds:

    Fascinating stuff on the Olmec///Ancient Haarlem Globetrotter Culture (grin)

    I’ve never been one to think that the possibility of the occasionally blown-off-course boat reaching the Americas denigrates the intelligence and creativity of native cultures. One could even argue that it takes intelligence to adopt a good thing when one sees it.

    On my screen, the pics of the statues have been over-contrasted to where they have only a one-bit depth, black or white, losing any detail.

  9. spookyparadigm responds:

    Dwarfs were part of Maya royal courts, as in European royal courts, so they were depicted on artwork produced for members of those courts

    Maya dwarf figurine, from Tikal


    Similar potbellied dwarves on Classic Maya vases






















  10. Dan Gannon responds:

    My opinion is that these statues probably represent “Alux” hominids. (How large are those statues, I wonder?) I never saw these photos before they were posted here. I’m amazed how similar the arm and shoulder (second photo, closest to the camera,) is to the arm and shoulder that I glimpsed this past winter, while on vacation with my wife in the Yucatan.

    If the Mayas were correct in saying that the Alux hominids were ancestral to the Mayas, interbreeding beetween different hominid groups (as the Rampasassa and others also claim,) appears likely. Some ancient Maya depictions of Aluxes appear to show more gorilla-like features, others more “modern human”-like features, and some were chimeric (somewhere in-between, for instance a little guy with a very gorilla-like nose, and a few other interesting/primitive features, but otherwise appearing somewhat “modern human”-like.) Possibly, this variation could be attributable to hybridization, in which various offspring with various combinations of features are typical. The more gorilla-looking ones may be closer to the “original” tiny hominid form, in the Maya regions.

  11. red_pill_junkie responds:

    spookyparadigm, thank you for that very illustrative (and EXTENSIVE) set of artistic examples of midget depictions in mayan art.

    BTW, WordPress tends to be a bit picky when you include html links —it instinctively thinks you are attempting to sell us herbal Viagra or something 🙂 — but after a while the messages appear.

    You might find these links interesting:

    Olmec wrestler (looks like a japanese sumo wrestler to me!)

    And these pics of a very odd sculpture located at the Museum/Park of La Venta (Tabasco), known as “monkey looking at the sky”:



    Interesting, eh?

    So, I really think that it may be possible that, if those sculptures of “gorillas” found in Yucatan are genuine, that they might not be of mayan origin, but made by the olmecs instead. I know I have nothing to base this assumption, but… well, call it a hunch 🙂


  12. Endroren responds:

    I think calling these gorillas (or big foot or anything else) based off of a blurry black and white copy of a black and white photo from the 30’s is irresponsible. Frankly, I think we (the folks who frequent Cryptomundo) can do better.

    Let’s start with the source. The pictures (and original article citing the simian nature of the statues) are from George Montandon. To Cryptomundo people he is best known for his work on the American Ape mystery (I fear including the link since that got me rejected last time…look up the article here…it is comprehensive…you’ll recognize the picture of a monkey held up by a stick under the chin, sitting on a crate.)

    In addition, George Montandon was a raving racist and did a great deal of work on the “science” of skull shape proving the inferiority/superiority of certain races. (Check out his entry in the French version of Wikipedia.) I point this out because from his perspective native peoples weren’t “people” and applying a simian label to a native statue fits with his set of beliefs.

    Finally, all of this is taken woefully out of context. The examples of the dwarfs (great work spookyparadigm) is a great start. Calling these apes just because they “look ape-like” is about as responsible as calling Mayan statues “spacemen” because the helmets they wear look odd (space suits!) or the atlatls they carry (lasers!!) don’t match the western idea of what a normal weapon should look like.

    I love speculating as much as the next person but part of what I’ve come to love about Cryptomundo is a reasoned and logical approach to mysteries. Unfortunately, the article above doesn’t really live up to this standard nor do some of the comments.

    BTW…from my research the original statues reside in the Anthropology and History Museum in Merida in case anyone lives down there.

  13. Dan Gannon responds:

    It appears that enlarged abdomens (lower part of the rib cage, in the fossils,) were most likely a primitive hominid feature, that most modern humans no longer have. The reconstructed whole Neanderthal skeleton (which used parts of different Neanderthal specimens to make a whole,) as well as the X-Ray of the Pedro Mountain Mummy (found in a sealed cave in Wyoming, and which looks, to me, like a tiny erectine or proto-erectine, or simply a very tiny hominid, which Mayas today identify as looking like an “Alux,” their word for the little people.) I don’t think the enlarged abdomens should be taken to represent gorilla abdomens. Those statues are clearly standing upright, something that gorillas rarely do, though gorilla ancestors may well have been bipedal, and I think they probably were. Quite possibly, gorillas they descend from the Toumai specimen’s population. Some experts have pointed out the similarities, between the Toumai specimen, and a female gorilla. There are also a lot of similarities with LB1. Looking at Toumai, LB1, bonobos, and various other pieces of evidence scattered here and there, I think a bipedal, LB1-like hominoid ancestor is indicated, that is, hominids were ancestral to all hominoids, and they likely primarily developed out in the SE Asian islands, where we’ve already found a bewildering array of fossils (the orangutans, very importantly, as well as wildly diverse “erectines,” LB1, modern humans, and mysterious specimens like Homo soloensis, and the Liang Toge specimen with its short legs and narrow cranium.) Nearby on the mainland, of course, we find Gigantopithecus fossils. If diversity in the fossil record is an indication of origin, I think SE Asia is at least as good a candidate, as Africa ever was.

  14. Dan Gannon responds:

    P.S., if one wonders why we don’t see such a huge variety of hominids/hominoids in SE Asia today, one should recall the gorillas, modern humans (including distinctive groups, in SE Asia and Australia,) recent survivors such as LB1 and now the younger Micronesian specimens, and the gibbons. Those are some of the survivors that appear to have come through a cataclysmic event, that occurred approximately 800000 years ago. Do a Google search on the “Australasian strewnfield,” or these words:

    space object OR impact asia 800000 years glass

    Suddenly Africa doesn’t look like the cradle of homoids, hominids, or even the erectines, or modern humans. There’s a lot more I could say about this, but I’ll try to keep it brief here. I post a lot of material about these issues, in these Yahoo groups, for anyone interested in further arguments and evidence:
    Flores_Man (my group)

  15. Dan Gannon responds:

    Correction to my last post: “gorillas” should be “orangutans.” They appear, based on the latest fossil evidence, and on where they have lived historically, to be a SE Asian lineage, for 10 or more millions of years.

  16. things-in-the-woods responds:

    I’m with Endroren on this all the way. To start even talking about cryptid apes/hominids on the basis of this evidence is ridiculous.

    And dont get me started on all the various theories flying around about the first americans and/or various supposed influxes of different peoples into america. This is an area in which theories are based almost entirely on no evidence or evidence of claimed resembalances in a few ancient pictures/sculptures (which is as good as no evidence really, because anyone can see whatever they want in such images). It is also frequently horribly mixed up (as Endroren alludes too) with, and often motivated by, racism (of one shade or another).

    I’m all for someone finding some cryptid hominids, but as i’ve said here before, that we find an artistic image of something (and in this case not even a clear image) can’t be taken as evidence for its existence. Otherwise we might as well be out looking for unicorns and mickey mouse..

  17. red_pill_junkie responds:

    A valid point, things-in-the-wood, and you’re right that we shouldn’t be too carried away about artistic representations, for we know not what the artist was trying to convey.

    I would add though, that there is also more than mere ressemblence in the evidence so far gathered that seems to suggest some sort of links between pre-colombian civilizations and ancient old-world cultures, like China and the ancient olmecs. Check this link:


    When I see an artistic representation, I always ask myself: what was the source of inspiration of the artist? It can very well be that the source is pure fantasy and comes from the artist’s imagination, but nevertheless we have to remind ourselves that imagination and ideas are inffluenced by cultural background and frames of reference. For instance, when the aztecs scouts went to Moctezuma to inform them about the arrival of the conquistadores, they had quite the conundrum of trying to find the right words that would convey a mental image of what a horse is, since neither of them had any contact with something resembling a horse before. So how do you describe something entirely new to you, to someone who hasn’t had the opportunity to see it for themselves?

    Those kind of questions intrigue me very much, for I am something of a UFO buff, and I think they are also pertinent in the realm of Cryptozoology, too.

  18. spookyparadigm responds:

    A few of the things on that Olmec page are problematic. The step symbol is used in several other Mesoamerican symbol sets and writing systems, including the contemporary to somewhat later Zapotec, as “hill,” specifically functioning as a place name, suggesting the same for Olmec.

    The cleft head motif is quite far removed in time, as the dates note, and is related to other Mesoamerican traditions of fertility, with the ground splitting and maize emerging.

  19. red_pill_junkie responds:

    The cleft head motif is quite far removed in time, as the dates note, and is related to other Mesoamerican traditions of fertility, with the ground splitting and maize emerging.

    I’m not sure I follow you here, spookyparadigm. Care to ellaborate further?

  20. mystery_man responds:

    Endroren, things-in-the-woods- Right. That’s what I was trying to say in my own post above. Likening any of these artistic representations to anything in particular, for example gorillas, is pretty subjective, especially in light of the poor quality images. I think people tend to see what they want to see and can create patterns when none are there when looking at these kinds of mysterious statues. The fact is we can not presume to understand what they are supposed to be modeled on in the absence of any other objective evidence.

  21. Endroren responds:

    Comparing by appearances is not an accurate way to judge origins. Especially when dealing with primitive imagery. Circles. Squares. Lines. Mountain shapes. Human faces. Pyramidal structures. These are common forms within the human world. One does not require contact for these to exist in multiple places.

    A claim like this demands more than “it sort of looks like it.” You need physical evidence of materials that originate in the other place. You need some sort of time frame that ties the two together. You need evidence, not general similarities in appearance.

    Don’t get me wrong…I’m not saying it isn’t true. I think the idea has merit, but at this point it is just an idea. There is no concrete evidence to support these theories at this time. (Either the simian statues OR the Chinese settlers.)

  22. spookyparadigm responds:

    I note the cleft thing because

    1. Unlike the other Shang imagery, which is sort of contemporary with the Olmec (though only the end of the Shang and the beginning of the Olmec) the author had to reach back thousands of years to another Chinese culture to find something that looks like cleft heads.

    2. The Olmec cleft head imagery is in accordance with other Mesoamerican cultures, which depict deities and landscapes with a cleft through which vegetation (often maize) grows, that share similar concepts and have a documented related origin as part of the same region. If the Chinese imagery is also depicting a similar concept, that would be interesting, though not evidence of contact, but if it isn’t depicting a similar concept, it isn’t much different than seeing Gemini-era astronauts on a Maya sarcophagus lid.

  23. red_pill_junkie responds:

    Of course Endorem, these are just ideas and speculations. I’m not saying we should rush and re-write every history books. I’m just saying we should try to explore more, and try not to be subjected to stiff paradigms.

    Thank you for your clarification spookyparadigm. Yes, the myths of the corn god (and the feathered serpent for that matter) that rises from the bowels of the monster of the underworld seems to have its origins in the olmec culture, and from that they are present in all the rest of the mesoamerican traditions, although the way they were transmitted seems still a little unclear.

    It seems we have hijcked this thread and turned it into an Archeology discussion, but that shows how incredibly tolerant and open-minded the folks running Cryptomundo are. Besides, a very important part of Cryptozoology (although the one orthodox zoologist despise the mostit seems) is the study of traditional folklore.

    I should conclude by saying that if I find anything more concerning these enigmatic statues in spanish websites, I shall try to contact Loren or Craig, so it is discussed further here in Cryptomundo.

    Saludos 🙂

  24. mystery_man responds:

    Endroren- Well said. I couldn’t agree with you more.

  25. Kronprinz_adam responds:

    Wow!! I’m amazed of all the detailed information that Spookyparadise delivered!! The images in the ceramic vases are beautiful, and some are just like taking a picture of the everyday’s life in a maya court…
    I think an Alux imange (if such think exists) can be found in religious/magical ceramic (the ones with rain gods, winged snakes and giant batlike beings). If I would be a maya artist, I will depict Alux in the world of jungle spirits….
    Can anyone provide a picture?

    The Yucatan Gorillas….are just impressive.

    Crazy Theory 1. Olmecs developed somehow contacts with african cultures. That’s why they got their colossal stoneheads with african faces and gorillas.

    Crazy Theory 2. They represent indeed SISIMITES, legendary tropical bigfoot-like creatures (which are in fact, feared by the people. He belongs to the supernatural realm, a mystery of the jungle which is not longer seen, he has backwards feet, if you follow his tracks, you get lost into the jungle, and if you see one, you will feel sick and people can even become crazy…)

    Conventional Theory 3. They represent human beings, but the sculptor was not a good one or a beginner in training.
    Conventional Theory 4. They represent demigods, taken out from a chamanistic vision.

  26. Dan Gannon responds:

    I plan to go to the Museum of History in Merida, probably in December or January, to get some better photos and/or video of these statues. (Thanks for the info, Endroren.)

  27. Endroren responds:

    That’s excellent news! I look forward to the results Dan! I hope they are still on public display. In the mean time, I’ve joined the Yahoo group your name links to. I want to make sure to be available when you return with what you find.

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