China’s snow man

A Chinese scientific expedition will set off this month on a search for human-like ape-men in remote mountain areas of central China, the Xinhua news agency said Wednesday.

The scientists hope to capture one of the creatures — dubbed China’s “Big Foot” — or at least find evidence to prove its existence, the agency said.

“We will never harm it,” Xinhua quoted expedition leader Wang Fangchen as saying.

The first group is to leave Beijing on Friday and make preparations for a massive search that will begin April 22 in Shennongjia Valley in central Hubei province, Wang said. The search will last until mid-year. km

Like the fabled Himalayan Yeti or “Big Foot”, China’s “snow man” is reported to be over 6 feet tall and leave 16-inch footprints.

Rural residents who have glimpsed the creature say it walks upright and is covered with long hair, Xinhua said.

Some scientists believe the creature may be a kind of unknown primate, possibly the offspring of a branch of anthropoid ape, or even a group of ape-men who have not kept up with evolution, it said.

The search may provide “living fossils” for the study of the evolution of human beings, but other scientists are skeptical, Xinhua said.

The expedition may result in disappointment if the “wild man is proven to have become extinct because of encroaching civilization”, said Wang, a member of the non-governmental Committee for Research on Strange and Rare Creatures.

The 30-member expedition will be equipped with luminous compasses, nightscopes, satellite orientation equipment, cameras, infra-red detectors and other tools.

Despite backing by the State Environment Protection Agency and Chinese Academy of Sciences, the team still lacks funds and hopes to obtain foreign financing, the report said.

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