Abstract # 178:

Scheduled for Sunday, August 27, 2017 04:00 PM-05:00 PM: (Grand Ballroom) Featured Speaker


B. Urbani
Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Cientificias, Centro de Antropologia, Caracas, Mi 1061-A, USA
     This work explores the case of the de Loys “ape” (AMERANTHROPOIDES LOYSI) that was allegedly “discovered” by the Swiss geologist François de Loys during an oil prospection in Venezuela in 1917 or 1918. In 1929, the description of the “ape” was completed by the Swiss medical doctor George Montandon using a photograph of a variegated spider monkey (Ateles hybridus). This seems to have been an orchestrated hoax by both individuals. After decades of controversy, this work explores a large amount of publications on the topic including poorly known information, -particularly from the Venezuelan medical doctor, Enrique Tejera- that gives the final proof and resolution of the hoax. The construction of such “ape” represented an instrument to justified “scientific” racism during the first half of the 20th century. This “ape” was created by Montandon to support his polygenist ideas on the origin of humans. This event remains in discussions among zoologists, anthropologists, primatologist, and mythopeics during more than seven decades. It impacted on the development of primatological research and mobilized the debate into the origin of humankind in the direction of preconceptions by virtually made distinctions of “humanness” in accordance to racist prejudices. This “ape” appears as one of the most exceptional bioanthropological frauds of that century that, together with the Piltdown Man case, was also related to academic and biopolitical agendas.