A South American ‘ape’?
The familiar, cropped version of the De Loys' ape photo - the creature is sat on a crate, propped up with a stick. That giant organ between its legs is typical of the females of a certain group of South American primates. That's right, this is not a male, and that is not a penis.
Arguably one of the most fascinating episodes in cryptozoological history involves the alleged South American primate species Ameranthropoides loysi, proposed as a new species by anthropologist George Montandon in 1929. This large, allegedly new primate species is represented only by a single photograph, allegedly taken on the Colombian-Venezuelan border by Swiss geologist François De Loys in 1920. De Loys claimed that he and his party encountered two of these bipedal, erect-walking primates, shot one of them dead, and propped its body up on a wooden crate before taking the famous (and famously creepy) photograph so familiar from books on monsters and mysteries.
The creature was supposedly very large (De Loys said 1.5 m tall), tailless, and with a human-like tooth count. Combined with its erect form of habitual bipedality, it was – according to De Loys – wholly different from all known South American primates (or platyrrhines), and perhaps a convergently evolved South American ‘ape’. The story has been discussed several times in the cryptozoology literature, most usefully by Heuvelmans (1995), Shuker (1991, 2008) and Urbani & Viloria (2009).
The less frequently seen uncropped version of the photo. Note the plants on either side -- some authors with botanical expertise have claimed that these show how the photo couldn't have been taken where Montandon said it was.
A sceptical look at De Loys’ ‘ape’
Montandon’s naming of A. loysi and De Loys’ alleged discovery of it were both treated with immediate scepticism across Europe (Keith 1929). The fact that no part of the specimen had been retained was one problem. De Loys argued that the remains had either been lost due to accident, or became destroyed due to mistreatment (the skull, for example, supposedly corroded away after being used as a salt container).