Animal Planet’s “The Cannibal in the Jungle” was the premier show during monster week in 2015… so was The Cannibal in the Jungle a True Story? Did Timothy Darrow eat those people? Are there really cannibal hobbit men on the Indonesian Island of Flores???
TV Movie Description
The Cannibal in the Jungle is a fictional story about a 1977 expedition into the Indonesian jungle that’s beset by a cannibalistic tribe, and the resulting court case questioning explorer Timothy Darrow’s account of the events.
Considering that The Cannibal in the Jungle is among the company of Animal Planet’s Monster Week masterpieces like Serial Killer Tiger At Large, it’s easy to question whether or not The Cannibal in the Jungle is based on a true, factual, story. Well, I hate to break it to you but The Cannibal in the Jungle is a fictional story made up of a bunch of different scientific facts. The Cannibal in the Jungle is not based on anything… it is not based on any kind of similar event or person. Instead it seems somebody at Animal Planet went “what if… what if these little hobbit men (Homo floresiensis) was actually a cannibal”. They spun a story for your enjoyment and advertising dollars.
The Hobbit Men are scientific fact however and small hobbit like men fit into Indonesian folklore…
Deep in the forests of the island of Flores, Indonesia, local legend describes a human-like creature – smaller in stature and one with a voracious appetite – that would kidnap children and eat human babies.
Known as the ‘Ebu Gogo’ – “Ebu” means grandmother; and “gogo,” means “he who eats anything” – the local people called the Nage have passed down monstrous tales of this mythical beast for centuries.
The Ebu Gogo were said to be nasty, gluttonous beasties – described as fast runners with wide, flat noses, broad faces, large mouths and hairy bodies. They were said to mumble in a distinct language of their own and were able to mimic human words, similar to parrots.
Because these creatures would kidnap children and steal food from villages, legend says they were driven deep into the rainforest and many killed by their human neighbors. Oral history accounts say they began to disappear with the arrival of Portuguese and Dutch settlers, starting in the 17th century.
The Hobbit Men, Homo floresiensis, lived on the Indonesian Island of Flores at least 13,000 years ago. The hobbit men stood about 3 and a half feet high (little over 1 meter) and weighed around 55 pounds (25 kilos). Homo floresiensis were surprisingly small considering human lineage at this point was to the larger side and floresiensis brain case (where the brain goes, your noggin) is quite small. There is a lively debate over Homo floresiensis in the scientific community with many doubting that it is a distinct species and instead may just be a small group of abnormal individuals.
Cannibalism in Indonesia… however… again….
We all remember last month’s chilling case of Matthew Williams, the guy who was caught eating the face of a girl he lured back to his hotel room. To most people, cannibalism is one of the most terrifying concepts imaginable, but for some members of the Korowai tribe from Indonesian New Guinea, human flesh is a dish central to their culture, like a Sunday roast or a kebab at the end of a night out.
Paul’s reports of the Korowai have come under fire by experts on Papuan tribes, and his later report on Brazil’s Suruwaha tribe—where he was accused of depicting the tribespeople as child murderers, “Stone Age” relics, and “one of the worst human rights violators in the world”—caused complaints of racism earlier this year.*
I am somewhat skeptical over the claims of modern cannibals / cannibalistic tribes in Indonesia. I would assume, and from the sound of it it’s a safe assumption, that Indonesia’s various tirbal populations practiced cannibalism in the same sense as tribes in Papua New Guinea and other Pacific Islands. That is to say cannibalism was generally rare to begin with, ritualistic in nature, and no longer prominent in any culture.
I feel like these reports are not to be trusted and are sensationalist in nature. It almost sounds like a man who just wants all the attention he can get instead of you know… being an ethical researcher…
Anyways, The Cannibal in the Jungle supposedly used these supposed incidents of modern cannibalism as inspiration. I know, that’s a lot of supposed. But we left the world of fact a long time ago in this article and I’m just trying to show you that being hyper skeptical is pretty warranted right now…
Here’s some more information on cannibalism if you’re still interested: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_incidents_of_cannibalism
To Wrap This Up
The Cannibal in the Jungle is a fictional story that uses some folklore concerning cannibalism and the abstract use of what may be a possible human species to spin a story. It is not a true story and Timothy Darrow is not a real man.
Cannibalism is uber rare in modern times but is frequently used in television because of its sensational nature.
The debate over Homo floresiensis rages on, and as with other species in the human lineage, the debate will most likely continue for a very long time.
The Cannibal in the Jungle is one of the many new mockumentaries that have graced the channels of Animal Planet, Discover, and the History Channel.
Read More on the Animal Planet Documentary The Cannibal in the Jungle and Timothy Darrow Here:
Is The Cannibal in the Jungle A True Story? by Jordan Wunderlich is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
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