Strange large ape ID

I was watching the old 1924 silent Thief of Bagdad the other night. In a couple scenes, there’s a large ape shown as one of the animals guarding the Calif’s palace.

I wonder if any of you could help identify it.

It wasn’t a man in a gorilla suit; the face was mobile and the dentition not human. It was man-sized, though, and walked erect; it was as tall as its keeper. Short legs, long arms. The skull was low, without the high crown that I think of gorillas as having. The ears were small. Wasn’t an orangutan; no cheek pouches and a different-shaped face. Sloping forehead. Mrs. R, whose ape knowledge is about equivalent to mine (i.e, none), thought it was a large chimp, but it didn’t look chimpish to me, and I didn’t think chimps got that big.

It walked erect? If it did for long periods, then I’d say it had to be a guy in an ape suit. IIRC, humans are the only hominids that walk erect for long periods.

Orangutans walk erect, as do gibbons. Their normal means of locomotion is brachiation, swinging through the branches, and they have all but lost any ability to move on all fours.

A lack of cheek pouches does not mean that it wasn’t an orang. Only the dominant males develop the cheek pouches. Males in captivity seldom develop them since they are subservient to their handlers. Or it may just be a female.

Or it could have been a chimpanzee, which can be trained to walk upright.

To the best of my knowledge there are five, maybe six living Ape species. Gibbons, Orangutans, Gorillas, Chimps (maybe Bonobos count as a separate species? I can’t remember) and Humans. That’s all. And I believe that that was the case in 1924 as well. Humans are the only ones for whom walking erect is their primary form of locomotion. The other Apes are not physically designed to walk for long periods on their hind legs. They can all do it, but it tires them out fairly quickly and they can’t really stand erect, they stoop or bend their knees.

If it was an Ape then it had to be one of the above-mentioned species. Otherwise it was a human in a costume. I’m fairly certain there are no other animals that you could mistake for an ape that are the size of humans and can stand on two legs for a long time.

Might it have been something like Oliver…either a hybrid of some kind, or, more likely, a deformed or disfigured “purebred” ape?

There are 6 or 7 species of gibbon IIRC, and at least 2 species of chimp.

If it was an ape, which one of these does it look closest to?

Gibbon (they come in black too)
Gorilla (couldn’t find a standing pic)
Or did it look more like this? :smiley:

Incidently here’s a pic of the skeleton’s of a (left to right) man, gorilla, chimp, orang, and gibbon for size comparison. It sure were’t no gibbon you saw if it were the size of a man. There are a bunch of monkeys that have human-like faces, but not very many that look similar to apes for size/posture/build.
PS - Orangutangs have not all but lost any ability to move on all fours.

Based on the size, it’s unlikely it was a gibbon or siamang (similar looking lesser ape). These guys are pretty small relative to humans and the great apes.

One way to tell the difference between the great apes:

Orangs: longer body hair*
Gorilla: bigger pot belly
Chimp: More “generic” ape looking than the other two

It’s pretty unlikely it was a bonobo in that time frame. They’re much rarer. Are you absolutely certain it wasn’t a special effect?

*and orange in color, but 1924 means the movie was b&w

I stand corrected.
Or perhaps I knuckle walk corrected.

I wonder if bibliophage knows of this.

“But the interesting part is the other apes: the orangutans and gibbons. Their normal means of locomotion is brachiating (swinging from branches). On those rare occasions when brachiators come down to the ground, they usually walk on two legs, like humans.”

Orangs are pretty funny to watch when they try to walk on the ground. They spend almost all their lives in the trees, so they seem to do this wierd knuckle-walk shuffle when they have to get around on terra firma.

Gibbons and siamangs are “sort of” bipedal on the ground. They, too, live mainly in the trees. When on the ground, you’ll see them hold their (very long) arms out to the side (making a “W” shape) and sort of skip-hop, half sideways half forward. They do “walk” on only two legs, but it’s nothing like a what a human would do.

Another thought…how tall was the trainer? If he was an unusually short or small person, but there was nothing else in the scene to provide a frame of reference, a smaller animal might look very odd.

Case in point, I watched part of the Tom Cruise movie Far and Away when it was on TV, once—stop your snickering—and was taken aback by a seemingly huge and very unusual animal that Tom rides out of a thick fog.

Then I remembered that Tom was only like 5’2 tall…and I realized that the creature he was riding was a donkey.

After looking at the links, I’m thinking it must have been a darned big chimp. Especially since one of the links talked about a wide variation in chimp sizes and shapes.

Thanks for all the help.

OK, you got me interested enough to put the film on my Netflx list and it appears this is the situtation:

It’s a chimp. No doubt about it. It also appeas that the “guards” are actually children whenever they are shown in the same frame as the chimp. It’s only when the guards are shown close-up (without the chimp) that they are adults. In fact, in the first scene with the chimp, you can see that the cape on at least one of the guards drags on the ground by about a foot. You never see this on the “adult” guards.

The “upright walking” is typical chimp posture when attempting this feat-- note how bent the legs are.

So there you have it!