Mystery Prim ate of Central Africa.
Etymology: Mbama (Bantu), either from n'koula ("chimpanzee") or from its call "kooloo" + kamba ("speak").
Scientific name: Pan troglodytes koolokamba, given by W. C. Osman-Hill in 1967.
Variant names: Choga, Dedieka, Ebot (Bulu/Bantu), Itsena, Koolakamba, Koula-nguia (Kele/Bantu, koula "chimpanzee" + nguia "gorilla"), Koulou-nguira, Kulu-kampa, Kulu-kanba, N'tchego, Sipandjee.
Physical description: Larger than a normal chimpanzee. Cranium is larger than a chimpanzee's, with some cresting. Ebony-black, prognathous face. Heavy browridge. Wide, flat, fleshy nose. Small ears. Powerful jaws. Upper and lower incisors meet squarely. Broad pelvic structure.
Behavior: Frequently walks bipedally. Call is "koola-kooloo koola-kooloo." Aggressive. Lives singly or in smaller groups than other chimpanzees.
Habitat: Primarily high-altitude forests, although stray individuals are apparently found elsewhere with normal chimpanzee groups.
Distribution: Gabon; Cameroon; Equatorial Guinea.
Significant sightings: In the 1850s, Paul Du Chaillu shot a male Kooloo-kamba in southwestern Gabon. It was smaller than an adult male gorilla but stockier than a female gorilla. It had a round head and face, a small nose, and large ears. The skull is housed in the British Museum of Natural History.
A 4-foot-tall female ape nicknamed "Mafuca" was taken to the Dresden Zoo in 1874 from the port of Loango in the Republic of the Congo. Several observers classified it as a young female gorilla, others were convinced it was a chimpanzee, and still others thought it could be a chimp-gorilla hybrid. Sir Arthur Keith in 1899 classed Mafuca with Du Chaillu's Kooloo-kamba. Some zoologists now think it likely that Mafuca was a bonobo, which can be stockier than some chimpanzees.
Louis de Lassaletta collected a Kooloo-kamba in the hilly Nsok region of Equatorial Guinea in 1954.
Individuals with Kooloo-kamba characteris tics have been maintained in the Coulston Foundation's animal experimentation laboratory in Alamogordo, New Mexico, since the 1960s.
In 1993, Steve Holmes saw a "wildman" in the Gamba coastal area of Gabon. It was just under 5 feet tall and running with its arms held high above its head. Nearby villagers called it the Sipandjee and said it was aggressive. Possible explanations:
(1) An unknown species or subspecies of Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), suggested by Du Chaillu and E. Franquet.
(2) A Lowland gorilla (Gorillagorilla) with uncharacteristic individual variations. A supposed Kooloo-kamba was brought to the Basel Zoo in 1967, but it turned out to be a red-backed female gorilla.
(3) A misidentified Bonobo (Pan paniscus), which was not recognized as a separate chimpanzee species until 1933.
(4) A chimp x gorilla hybrid. Though these two apes are closely related, successful hybridization between them is unknown either in captivity or in the wild. Individuals with both chimp and gorilla characteristics merely reflect this close genetic relationship.
(5) A misidentified large male chimpanzee. Facial color in chimps darkens with age.
(6) A misidentified small female gorilla, the equivalent of a PYGMY GORILLA
(7) An emergent variety or species with adaptations to a mountainous habitat, suggested by Karl Shuker.
Sources: E. Franquet, "Sur le Gabon et sur les diverses espèces de singes anthropomorphes d'origine africaine," Archives du Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle 10 (1858): 91-97; Paul B. Du Chaillu, Explorations and Adventures in Equatorial Africa (London: John Murray, 1861); Paul B. Du Chaillu, Stories ofthe Gorilla Country (New York: Harper, 1868); Arthur Keith, "On the Chimpanzees and Their Relationship to the Gorilla," Proceedings ofthe Zoological Society of London, 1899, pp. 296-312; Raingeard, "Note sur un anthropoïde africain: Le Koula-Nguia," Mammalia 2 (1938): 81-83; Ernst Schwarz, "A propos du Koula-Nguia," Mammalia 3 (1939): 52-58; Albert kooloo-kamba 281
Irwin Good, "Gorilla-Land," Natural History 56 (January 1947): 36-37, 44-46; W. C. Osman Hill, "The Nomenclature, Taxonomy and Distribution of Chimpanzees," in Geoffrey H. Bourne, ed., The Chimpanzee (Basel, Switzerland: S. Karger, 1969), vol. 1, pp. 22-46; Bernard Heuvelmans, Les bêtes humaines d'Afrique (Paris: Plon, 1980), pp. 301-304, 417-440; Don Cousins, "On the Koolakamba: A Legendary Ape," Acta Zoologica et Pathologica Antverpiensia 75 (1980): 79-93; Brian T. Shea, "Between the Gorilla and the Chimpanzee: A History of Debate Concerning the Existence of the Kooloo-kamba or Gorilla-Like Chimpanzee," Journal ofEthnobiology 4 (1984): 1-13; Elaine Jane Struthers, "Koolakamba," Primate Info Net, University of Wisconsin, Madison, July 17, 1996, http://www.primate. wisc.edu/pin/koola.html; Steve Holmes, "Incident in Gabon," Fortean Times, no. 113 (August 1998): 52; Don Cousins, "No More Monkey Business," Fortean Times, no. 136 (August 2000): 48.
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