Mawas

Unknown Primate of Southeast Asia.

Etymology: Malay (Austronesian), "orangutan." Variant names: HanTU Sakai, Orang mawas. Physical description: Apelike. Height, 5-6 feet. Long, shaggy hair. Both black and brown colors reported, possibly indicating sexual dimorphism. Distribution: Malaysia.

Significant sighting: Liong Chong Shen watched two shaggy-haired, apelike creatures in his durian orchard near Kampung Chennah, Negeri Sembilan State, Malaysia, in late December 1999. They were 5-6 feet tall and covered in black and brown hair, respectively. Possible explanations:

(1) A mainland population of the

Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus).

(2) An extant population of Homo erectus, fossils of which have been found in Java,

Indonesia.

Sources: Walter William Skeat and Charles Otto Blagden, P^agan Races ofthe Malay Peninsula (London: Macmillan, 1906), vol. 2, p. 283; Tony Healy and Paul Cropper, Out of the Shadows: Mystery Animals of Australia (Chippendale, N.S.W., Australia: Ironbark, 1994), pp. 152, 156; Hah Foong Lian, "Village Abuzz over Sighting of 'Mawas,'" Star (Kuala Lumpur), January 2, 2000.

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