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From Lausanne to the Venezuelan forests Geological mission of Francois de Loys 1892-1935 and the origins of an anthropological controversy De Lausanne aux forets venezueliennes Mission geologique de Francois de Loys 1892-1935 et les origines dune controverse anthropologique



From Lausanne to the Venezuelan forests Geological mission of Francois de Loys 1892-1935 and the origins of an anthropological controversy De Lausanne aux forets venezueliennes Mission geologique de Francois de Loys 1892-1935 et les origines dune controverse anthropologique



Bulletin de la Societe Vaudoise des Sciences Naturelles. septembre; 863: 157-174



Francois de Loys (1892-1935), a geologist from Lausanne, was one of the pioneers of oil exploration in the remote rain forests south west of Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela. As a field geologist, he participated in expeditions to Europe, Africa and America during the golden age of great oil discoveries. However, Dr de Loys is less known for his geological achievements than for the discovery of a primate with exceptional features in the forests of western Venezuela. His photographic document and testimony, presented for the first time by the Swiss anthropologist Georges Montandon, led to a controversy around what the latter claimed to be the discovery of an anthropoid ape in South America. Montandon's hypothesis was initially accepted and defended by French scientists, but radical criticisms, especially from Great Britain and North America, rapidly brought the case to an end in the 1930s, when it was finally regarded as a hoax. However, there seems to be no sufficient reasons to deny the veracity of the discovery and the seriousness of de Loys and its mentor Montandon. Nowadays, the story is still eventually recalled as an unresolved case.

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