Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Southern Chilean Children Prized by Monkey People

Images of Creatures Under Scrutiny, Police Investigate

“It was the oddest thing I’ve ever seen”, exclaimed a Chilean fisherman to reporters after he photographed what appeared to be upright walking primates on an island approximately 30 miles off the Patagonian coast.

“I mean…they had on peoples’ clothes,” he said.

The fisherman captured the images on a digital camera while returning from an annual anchovy run aboard the commercial fishing vessel, La Mestiza.

What’s exciting the already superstitious locals as well as intriguing the local authorities are, what looks to be, two small children walking with the animals in the photograph. This relatively nonviolent part of South America has one of the highest incidents of kidnapping in the world, as well as an insurmountable backlog of unsolved missing children cases.

At a press conference in Puerto Williams, a police spokesperson told reporters “It is really not our job to determine if monkeys are taking children. But if there are photographs and witnesses that say a small child is stranded on an empty island out there, we’ll investigate.”

Scientists from Chile’s Museum of Natural History in Santiago are neither confirming nor denying the authenticity of the photos. Carlos Allovoria, pursuing a Ph. D. in population genetics and evolution at the Universidad de Buenos Aires, said in an email to the Associated Press, “I could not see any morphological structure that could identify it as any animal. Just…several ape-like forms."

Some scientific circles are already claiming a new species.

“Like [Jane] Goodall’s chimps did in the 60’s, this could once again redefine what it means to be human.” Said Mariam Doughan, Professor of Primate Studies at the University of Wisconsin. “…Tool making, clothing, walking upright; all these traits we hold as being exclusively human.”

But Dr. Horacio Cavanna of the Universidad de Buenos Aires cautions this way of thinking, “Finding and using tools is anthropologically very different than designing and creating tools. Using found objects to dig for food, gather water, and even decorate; these occur throughout the animal kingdom and although displays cleverness, hardly constitutes as anything but animal behavior.

Using coordinates logged by the captain of the La Mestisa, a follow-up team of zoologists, anthropologists and police were sent to the island to investigate. The team reported no humans were seen and no animals that matched the description of those in the photographs. According to their report, the uninhabited island yielded nothing more than a few “pits containing plastic milk jugs wrapped in leaves”.

“Some of the containers had water in them.” Said Officer Juan Cesar Pino. “But it’s not unusual for fisherman to camp on the smaller islands and leave trash behind.”

As for the children allegedly in the photographs, “Police are working with the Coast Guard to investigate.” Said Officer Pino, “But we have limited resources and cannot send a boat to every island in [Cape Horn].”

In the conference room in the local town hall gathered a small group of women holding up pictures of their missing children. An older woman, perhaps a missing child’s grandmother, repeatedly asked passerby’s, “Is this her? Is this the girl in the photographs?”


iBrandon said...

Mickey... seriously, call a brother.. What's it gonna take? a plane ticket to WI?

Jeff said...

That's really peculiar. I wonder if it is true or staged?

Righteous Porridge said...

holy crap,i didnt even realize it, but as i was reading that, this was being discussed on glen beck. he was giving tips for parents to teach their children, about, a...monkey torture.

SeanFrancis said...

Like I have this one monkey named Bongo and sometimes I like to pretend like he's dead. I'll be like, boy I sure miss Bongo ever since he died. And I'll pretend I can't see him and stuff.

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