Of Singing Mice and De Loy’s Ape

I love the information one can glean from the internet. A lot of the information is of the ‘news’ variety. Stories put out by different websites that live to pass on the latest in homicides, celebrity scandal, economic woes, video game  releases, et al.

Then there are the websites that are just there for the purpose of relating educational news. How to construct a good sentence in English. Google translate (or it’s equivalent) for help in reading sentences that aren’t in English or for translating your non-English sentence. Definitions of words, their synonyms and antonyms.

You have websites that specialize in the weird and wonderful. Crazy news from around the world. How a ghost is keeping the rent down in Thailand. How a man in Pakistan can subsist on eating light bulbs and nothing else. A woman in Japan has been found guilty of misleading her clients on the correct use of Feng Shui.

Of course there are other websites that are not so glamorous or amusing. These sites deal with porn. Not just grown up porn but porn of a sort that will appeal to every taste, legal or not. Don’t worry if you don’t see something you like, free trailers and teasers are available for anyone who will tick the “over 18” box and enter. Not everyone’s cup of tea and not websites that are generally discussed in polite circles. *Unless it is to damn them or to express amazement that they are allowed at all.* 

Then you have scientific or technological sites. These are the most fascinating and entertaining to read.Just today I learned about singing mice. Animals in the world are broken into singing and non-singing camps. People, birds, apes, et al are in the singing group. Mice are not. Or at least they haven’t been. Scientists now believe that mice use song to woo their prospective mate. The male mice serenade the female mouse of their choice and she either responds enthusiastically (presumably like a Justin Bieber fan since the warbling of the mice is also high-pitched and squeaky) or not.

This discovery has only come about with new technology which allows the scientists to hear the mice better. What they previously thought was a high-pitched squealing ‘call’ was actually a mouse version of  Barry White‘s You’re the First, the Last, My Everything.

On the other side of the discovery coin, old news if you will, was the mystery of De Loys’ Ape.

English: Justin Bieber at the Sentul Internati...
English: Justin Bieber at the Sentul International Convention Center in West Java, Indonesia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whoops, sorry wrong picture!

De Loys’ Ape

The story of De Loys’ ape comes to us courtesy of David Bressan’s article De Loy’s Ape on The History Of Geology.

The readers digest version is as follows: De Loy, a noted geologist, was in South America looking for oil. As he and his band of fellow geologist’s, guides, and locals traveled deeper into the jungle, disease, predators, poor food and accidents caused his band’s number to dwindle to just four men.

These men arrived exhausted at the bank of Tarra River and there they encountered a pair of strange creatures. “One day de Loys spotted along the shores of the Rio Tarra two large monkeys covered with reddish fur and lacking a tail. More strangely the two animals walked upright and approached slowly the expedition, visibly irritated, shouting, brandishing the arms and using they own excrements as projectiles against the frightened men. The men decided to respond to the attack and shoot in direction of the two apes, killing the female.” *David Bressan De Loys’ Ape*

Amazed at this possible missing link, the ape was over 5 feet tall, De Loys took many pictures including the one above. He intended to bring the body back to civilization to show the scientific world. Unfortunately the body rapidly deteriorated and on the way back their boat capsized causing all the photographs but one to be washed away.

Once back in the civilized world De Loys never mentioned the curious ‘ape man’ that he had encountered in South America. It was only years later that a friend, the Swiss anthropologist George Alexis Montandon (1879-1944), accidentally rediscovered this photo that the ‘ape’ became an issue.

Montandon was convinced that this creature in De Loys’ photograph was a new hitherto undiscovered primate that could be a ‘missing link.’ Montandon decided to approach the scientific community with his findings. Interestingly, only the French agreed with his findings and the rest of the scientific community decided that Montandon was incorrect in his assumptions.

Fast forward to 1999 and a letter from 1962 purports that the picture is a hoax and that the 5 foot humanoid ape is a myth that came about as a practical joke by De Loys. It does make a certain amount of sense. De Loys himself had forgotten about the mysterious creature and never attempted to solve the mystery.

The real De Loys’ ape?

If, in fact, the picture and the resulting myth are the result of a prank, I think it is nothing less than brilliant. This man, De Loys has managed to lose most of his team and his remaining team are exhausted and more than likely scared and nervous. That he could even think of such a funny joke at such a time is uplifting and touching.

I can imagine him telling the others of just how funny it will be when they return telling everyone that the spider monkey they just shot was really a 5 foot tall humanoid creature that they’d never seen before. Spirits bolstered by the school boy prank, I imagine them slapping one another on the back and laughing.

Of course I could be wrong, but I’d rather think that is how it went.

As for the singing mice?

I’ve always known that mice could sing. I’ve always known that they can whistle as well. I saw  Mickey Mouse do it in a film when I was little. He sang and whistled in the film Steamboat Willie made by the prestigious Walt Disney.

And Uncle Walt would never lie.

Steamboat Willie 1928
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