Who Are the Yeren? Meaning of These Cryptids Explained


Many countries around the world have their own types of Bigfoot or Sasquatch and China is no exception. In China, there is a creature called the yeren, a primate spotted in the country's mountainous areas that resembles a man-ape.

Meet China's Yeren

In China, hundreds of recorded encounters with a hominid cryptid called the yeren have been logged since the 1940s, with legends about the creature dating back more than 2,000 years. The reports of the creature have common aspects, including the following characteristics.

  • The yeren looks like a cross between an ape and a human.
  • It walks upright on two legs.
  • Most reports suggest the creature is covered with reddish-brown hair, although there are also a few reports of spotting white yeren.
  • The cryptid is said to be larger than humans, ranging in size from 6 to 8 feet; although some have been reported as being as large as 10 to 12 feet tall.
  • The face is similar to an ape or monkey, although the head is reported as being human-sized.
  • It has large feet, and it leaves behind large footprints.
  • It has no tail.

Where the Yeren Has Been Spotted

The majority of reports of yeren sightings come from mountainous regions in China near the Hubei province in central China. Sightings primarily focus around Shennongjia, a 1,900 square mile UNESCO World Hertiage site filled with dense forest that provides the habitat for many of China's rare animal species such as the Asian black bear and the clouded leopard. However, areas surrounding Shennongjia also have reports of Yeren sightings.

Hubei Province in China

Other Names for the Yeren

The Chinese name for yeren literally translates to mean "wildman." It may be called by other names as well, such as:

  • Ape man
  • Chinese wildman
  • Yeh Ren
  • Yirin

Yeren Sightings and Investigations

Since the 1940s, more than 400 yeren sightings have been reported.

  • In the 1980s, a park ranger reported seeing a sleeping yeren through binoculars.
  • Four tourists visiting Shennongjia in November of 2007 claimed to see two yeren standing in shrubbery near the Licha River. Returning later with rangers, they discovered large footprints.
  • In the 1970s, there were a series of yeren sightings in Shennongjia that led to a 1977 government-backed expedition to find the creature. No evidence was found, and nobody in the official expedition reported seeing any yeren.
  • On May 14, 1976, six Chinese officials in a vehicle spotted a yeren near Shennongjia.
  • There have been no other "official" investigations, although there are many groups in the area who have spent years researching the creature and seeking evidence of its existence.

Evidence of the Yeren

Much of the evidence collected regarding the Yeren is anecdotal in nature involving stories from credible (and less credible) sources about sighting the creature. Sometimes these sightings have been made by multiple people at the same time. There is little physical evidence to suggest the yeren exists.

  • No photographic evidence exists, nor have their been any bodies or other types of biological evidence suggesting the evidence of these creatures.
  • Over the years, investigators have collected casts of large footprints possibly made by the yeren. These footprints show a humanoid foot that measures around 38 cm by 16.5 cm (15 inches by 6.5 inches). By contrast, a size 10 male foot measures around 10.75 inches in length and 4 inches in width.
  • Investigators have also collected hair samples of unknown origin believed to be from yeren. Some have tested to be boar's hair, while others remain unidentified.

Does the Wildman Exist?

Much like other cryptids, collected evidence has neither been able to confirm nor deny the existence of the yeren. With hundreds of stories about sightings of the creature, chances are people are seeing something in the mountains and forests of Hubei, but what they have spotted remains a mystery.

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Who Are the Yeren? Meaning of These Cryptids Explained