Small Hominid of East Africa.
Etymology: Kuria or Chagga (Bantu) word. Physical description: Height, about 4 feet. Brown or russet-colored hair.
Behavior: Upright gait. Said to barter for goods with local tribes. Habitat: Dense forests. Distribution: North-central Tanzania. Significant sighting: William Hichens briefly observed two hairy men in north-central Tanzania in the 1920s. They walked upright across a clearing in the forest.
PP'ossible explanation: Surviving gracile aus-tralopith, suggested by Bernard Heuvelmans. (See Kakundakari for a more detailed explanation.) The Laetoli fossil beds that contain perfectly preserved Australopithecus afarensis footprints are in north-central Tanzania, as is Olduvai Gorge where the robust fossil P^aran-thropus boisei was discovered by Louis Leakey in 1959. Since East Africa is the probable birthplace of early hominid species, its traditions of small hairy men are tantalizing.
Sources: William Hichens, "African Mystery Beasts," Discovery 18 (1937): 369-373; Bernard Heuvelmans, Les bêtes humaines d'Afrique (Paris: Plon, 1980), pp. 515-516, 530-535.
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