Officer: "Shennongjia savage's" existence is well-founded

15:17, April 14, 2010      

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Savage model in Shennongjia Natural Museum.(File photo)

Shennongjia, in Hubei province, is not only called "gene pool of species" and "kingdom of animals and plants" due to its natural environment, but it is also enveloped in a shroud of mystery because of the "Shennongjia Savage" legend.

Zhu Houlun, the head of Shennongjia Forested Area government, said in a press conference on April 13 that the legend of Shennongjia savage is well-documented, but a clear picture is needed to prove it.

According to Zhu, the popular mystery of the savage is not a man-made story devised to promote local tourism. The oldest written record of it goes back more than 2,000 years, and the Shennongjia savage legend is much older than the Loch Ness Monster.

He also said the ancient Chinese scholar Qu Yuan, who lived in 300 B.C., had described the figure of a "mountain ghost." The Shan Hai Classic, a famous book on ancient Chinese geography, also has records of a "bushy human." An Outline Treatise of Medical Herbs (Ben Cao Gang Mu) written during the Ming dynasty and Annals of Fang Country from the Qing dynasty both have similar records.

Apart from history books, the savage also exits in folk culture. Local medicinal herb farmers would wear two bamboo tubes on their wrists when they went into the forest to collect herbs. It was said that the bamboo tubes could help them to escape the wrist-grabbing savages. Nowadays, this custom is still alive.

Zhu also said hundreds of people have claimed to have seen the savages in different eras, times, areas and places, but their accounts are basically the same. They all describe the savages as tall with red or brown hair around their bodies, standing half upright with a protruding forehead and having features similar to a human being.

The debate on the Shennongjia savage legend has not stopped since the 1970s. After many probes by state and provincial scientific surveying teams, experts have finally concluded that the Shennongjia savage is a species of senior primate that falls in between apes and human beings.

CNS contributed to the story

By People's Daily Online

(Editor:王寒露)

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http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90782/90873/6950704.pdf