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12 animals mistaken for mythical creatures

By: Bryan Nelson on June 9, 2010, 1:25 p.m.
Gigantopithecus at San Diego Museum of Man

Photo: auxesis/Flickr

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They may look like Bigfoot, but these extinct creatures were real apes that roamed the forests of Asia as recently as 300,000 years ago. In fact, the Gigantopithecus was the largest ape that ever lived, standing up to 10 feet tall and weighing well over 1,000 pounds. Some anthropologists believe that Gigantopithecus was bipedal, making quite an impression on our hominid ancestors. Fossil remains of Gigantopithecus could have led to the myth of the Yeti, and some fringe researchers believe it's possible populations of the creature may have persisted into recent times, giving root to the Bigfoot legend.