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'Bigfoot' sighting in China

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BEIJING, China -- Chinese authorities are investigating several apparent sightings of a legendary 'ape-like' beast at a nature reserve in the central Hubei province.

The mythical creature, suspected by locals to be a 'Bigfoot', was apparently seen by six people, including a journalist in the Shennongjia Nature reserve on Sunday afternoon, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Local legend has it that the reserve is home to the half-man, half-ape creature but several high-profile searches in the past three decades have failed to find any evidence of its existence.

Speculation the 'Bigfoot' could be a descendant of apes mounted after China's state media reported several years ago that scientist had found fossilized teeth of giant primates in the area.

The latest sighting described the creature as a grayish ape-like animal, the Xinhua report said, about 1.65-meters tall with shoulder length black hair.

A vehicle carrying the journalist and five others was making a turn when the occupants saw the creature moving fast across the road, the Xinhua report said.

By the time the vehicle had stopped, the animal had disappeared.

The passengers found several 30 centimeter-long (12 inches) footprints and newly broken branches in the jungle near the road, the report said.

They also claimed to have discovered a three-meter-long (9.9 feet) patch of "foul smelling urine-like liquid" on the road where the creature was seen.

While some scientists theorize the creature could be the missing link between primates and humans, other hypotheses say it may be a bear, monkey or an elaborate hoax.

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