• Question: do you believe in gogos and why?

    Asked by demi123 on 5 Jun 2019. This question was also asked by s1oth, hollyb13.
    • Photo: Nina Rzechorzek

      Nina Rzechorzek answered on 5 Jun 2019: last edited 5 Jun 2019 1:58 pm


      Well, from a scientific perspective the jury seems to be out on whether H.floresiensis is another form of hominid that shared the planet with H.sapiens, see:
      https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-littlest-human-2006-06/?redirect=1
      I found the neurological discussions on this really interesting, because one of the key arguments seems to be around brain size. Some are arguing that the specimen represents a hominid already described, but with an abnormal brain condition called microcephaly (‘small brain’) – we see this sometimes in patients where the brain has not developed properly, but that does not mean they represent a ‘different species’. When I look at dog brains using MRI, I see that Chihuhua brains and Great Dane brains contain all the same regions, but the shape and size of the brain can look VERY different between breeds of the same species (this is man-made selection rather than natural selection and raises important ethical issues around dog breeding). This has fuelled the debate on whether brain size is really so important for cognitive function (although we have no solid data to prove whether the cognitive function of a Chihuahua is the same as a Great Dane). Not sure I believe in mythological creatures, but certainly it’s possible that we are yet to discover new and surprising steps in hominid evolution.

    • Photo: David Wilson

      David Wilson answered on 5 Jun 2019:


      There’s not much information about them available but then we’re still discovering new species everyday in the inaccessible oceans and jungles of the world.

    • Photo: Kate Timms

      Kate Timms answered on 5 Jun 2019:


      There were lots of species of humans before Homo Sapiens (us!) became the dominant/only species. We don’t know for certain why the other species became extinct, but it’s possible the it was a combination of them being out-competed by homo sapiens (e.g. either due to a biological difference or practices like tool-use for hunting) and by breeding with homo sapiens. We all have traces of Neanderthal DNA, meaning that Homo Sapiens and Neanderthals must have had children together often enough for it to leave it’s mark on our DNA. These species disappeared thousands of years ago.

      It is theoretically possible that some species of humans remained in remote or isolated places for longer than that, but we have no evidence that they currently still exist. Things like the Ebu Gogo could have been a different species of human, if they existed. One that survived by being isolated from other populations of humans. It’s just as likely that either what people saw were a species of ape or monkey or that they were tales made up to frighten children into behaving better and not wandering into the forest!

      In places like Ireland children used to be told (including me, but my family were only joking!) that if you go into the woods without bread in your pockets or go alone that the faeries will take you! And often babies with health problems and children with developmental or learning difficulties were said to be changelings – faery babies that were swapped with the human baby – because it was easier to believe in something so fantastical than to believe your own child was different in some ways. Especially before we understood these things medically.

      Often mythologies are built up around a grain of truth, but over the generations they change so much that we can never really be sure whether there was ever any truth to them. Especially without any evidence. Some things will probably always be a mystery!

    • Photo: James Streetley

      James Streetley answered on 5 Jun 2019:


      I had never heard of Ebu Gogo before, so I had a quick Google. It seems unlikely to me, so I guess I’d say I don’t believe in them. But I’m happy to be proved wrong, 2 minutes of googling definitely doesn’t make me an expert!

    • Photo: Rebecca Moon

      Rebecca Moon answered on 5 Jun 2019:


      I, like James, had never even heard of gogos. Am off to do some reading!

    • Photo: Shobhana Nagraj

      Shobhana Nagraj answered on 5 Jun 2019:


      Me too – thank you for the question and all the great answers – I hadn’t known about this topic before! Thanks guys!

    • Photo: Kaitlin Wade

      Kaitlin Wade answered on 7 Jun 2019:


      Well, I think it’s a really interesting question. There seems to be a lot of information about the Ebu Gogos being a myth or folklore tale. But there is an intriguing link between these and the Homo floresiensis hominid, which may have been around at the same or similar time as the myth. I’m not sure I believe this though, mainly because I don’t know enough about it!

    • Photo: Rachel Hardy

      Rachel Hardy answered on 7 Jun 2019:


      I haven’t actually heard of gogos! This is an interesting new area for me to learn about though. I will have a read up about them on google, and read the great answers that everyone else has put 🙂

    • Photo: Thiloka Ratnaike

      Thiloka Ratnaike answered on 9 Jun 2019:


      I think I need to have a google on this one.

    • Photo: Matthew Bareford

      Matthew Bareford answered on 20 Jun 2019:


      I need to do a lot more reading around them before I can answer this one I’m afraid!

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