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Curupira detail

Detail from the painting O Curupira or Le Curupira by Brazilian painter Manoel Santiago.

Other names: Caá-porá, caiçara, caipora, cayporé, coropira, corubira, kaaguerre, kaapore, korupira kurupi, kurú-piré, yurupari
Country reported: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay

The curupira is a cryptid primate and folkloric creature reported from the Amazon.[1] It is similar to the mapinguari, the didi, the De Loys' ape, and the sisemité.

Etymology

"Curupira" comes from the Guaraní curumim ("boy") + pira ("body"). Kuru also means "short" or "small" in Aché.[1]

Description

The curupira is described as being fairly small, only around 3 to 4 feet tall, with red or yellow skin, and covered in shaggy red hair, with a mane around its neck. Facially it resembles a chimpanzee,[2] with a flattened nose, a large mouth, and blue or green teeth. Like many cryptid primates of South and Central America, its most notable feature are its feet, which are turned backwards and display crooked toes.[1] The backwards, apelike tracks it leaves behind confuse hunters, leading them in the wrong direction.

The curupira is said to be arboreal, spending most of its time in trees and leaving little evidence on the forest floor.[2] It is a poor swimmer, feeds on bananas,[2] and lives in hollow trees.[1]

More folkloric characteristics attributed to the curupira include a tendency to kidnap children and rape women, shapeshifting, and the smoking of a pipe. It is also said to ride atop a pig or a deer and, like the mapinguari, protects the forest, the trees, and the animals.[1]

Expeditions

1996

French ethnologist François-Xavier Pelletier led an expedition to the Brazilian Amazon in 1996 to search for the curupira.[2]

1997

Pelletier led a second expedition to Brazil in June 1997.[2]

Theories

The curupira may be a surviving relative of Protopithecus, a late Pleistocene spider monkey known from fossils in Eastern Brazil.[1] A similar hypothesis has been put forward to explain the De Loys' ape, if it is real.[2]

Notes and references