Peron Rants

The Java Giant: Meganthropus


Meganthropus  fossil remains were first found in Central Java in Indonesia at the Sangiran site near Surakarta in 1941.  Originally, it was named “Meganthropus paleojavanicus.”  The name is considered invalid today among mainstream paleoanthropologists but survives as a common sort of nickname.  The fossils of this hominin consisted of several large jaw bones and skull fragments.  Some regard the fossils as those of giants and it has been debated whether or not Mega should be placed in the Homo (human) genus (Homo paleojavanicus).  Other researchers believe Mega is more related to the Australopithecines and should be called Australopithecus paleojavanicus.  So, as figured, the debate over the name continues!

Size comparison of Mega to modern man and the Flores Is Hobbit

Another name that is used is Paranthropus robustus with the name Meganthropus africanus used as a synonym by some.  Personally, I prefer to refer to this hominin simply as Meganthropus or simply MEGA.

Most paleoanthropologists consider Mega related to the ancient human ancestor Homo erectus although we’re not sure how.  The number of fossil finds is small.  The first fossils found of this hominin are known as Meganthropus A/Sangiran 6 found by von Koenigswald in 1941 in Java.  Koenigswald was captured by the Japanese during WW2 and the fossils he found disappeared, however, he was able to make cast of the jaw and send it to Franz Weidenreich.  The jaw was then the largest ever found.  Weidenreich  at first thought the specimen may have suffered from a condition known as Acromegalic giantism but soon ruled that out because the jaw did not appear to have any of the associated traits of that condition.  He surmised that Mega must have been about 2/3 the size of the giant ape Gigantopithecus and twice as large as a common gorilla.  That would make Mega around 8 feet (2.44 m) tall and about 600 lbs (272 kg).  That’s a pretty big hominin!!

Another jaw fragment was discovered in 1979 by Marks and a mandible (jaw) and ramus were acquired by Sartono in 1993.  Some of these fossils have been dated at 1.4–0.9 mya.  Sadly, details of the teeth in Sartono’s specimen have been lost and the ramus is rather badly damaged.  The fossil find known as Meganthropus 1/Sangiran 27 was that found by Tyler which consisted of a nearly complete but sadly crushed cranium which was within the size definitions of Mega but outside of those of H. erectus.  Strangely, this specimen has a double temporal ridge (sagittal crest) and a very thick nuchal ridge!  Other jaw and skull fragments have been found and many researchers consider them to be out of range for H. erectus.  It’s also be noted that these fossils have some marked traits of Australopithecus.  Despite this the majority of anthropologists consider Mega to belong to H. erectus anyway.  If they are right then it means Mega is a very archaic (primitive) early H. erectus specimen.  However, if one excepts the crossbreeding theory then this mix of traits is not unusual at all as its features reflect its admixture and hybridization.

Australian researcher Rex Gilroy believes Mega also existed in Australia and may still be there today!  He speaks of giant stone tool finds and modern-day reports of sighting the creature in the outback of Australia.  Could this be the Yowie, the Australian version of Bigfoot?  Some Bigfoot researchers have suggested Meganthropus as being Bigfoot.  If so, it certainly has the height and weight of common Bigfoot sighting reports.  Seems to me that Mega is a good candidate for Sasquatch.