The orangutan is a real enough animal, but there are not supposed to be any wild populations living in continental Asia. However, residents have reported creatures much like orangutans, but smaller, in remote areas of China, Vietnam, Burma and even India. In India, the mainland orangutan is called the bir-sindic or olo-banda, while in Burma (present-day Myanmar) it is called the iu-wun. If these creatures exist, they could be a new subspecies or even a new species of orangutan.
These reports of smallish orangutans on the Asian mainland are often lumped together with reports of the Chinese wildman or yeren. Some people think that the mainland orangutan is a smaller species of Asian orangutan, while the yeren represents a larger species of orangutan that has adapted itself to a bipedal, ground-dwelling lifestyle. In other words, they think that there are two separate kinds of mainland orangutan, one large and bipedal, the other small and tree-dwelling.
Mainland orangutans are known from fossil remains found in Asia, roughly corresponding to the areas where modern sightings occur, and dating to the Pliocene period. Since the animal used to live on mainland Asia, all that would be required for it to be alive today would be for it to have survived in small isolated areas, with perhaps an occasional foray into less isolated regions. Southeastern Asia is a hotbed of new animal discoveries, with even large mammals being found there within recent decades. Therefore, it is completely not out of the question that an orangutan might be among the mammals we have yet to discover.
|You can find out more about the Mainland Orangutan from the following sources:
Newton, Michael. Encyclopedia of Cryptozoology: A Global Guide to Hidden Animals and Their Pursuers. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2005. Pages 67, 212, 288, 501
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