It was later officially recongized by conventional science, and named the gorilla.
According to African folklore, the pongo was a wild man of the jungles. Looking like a cross between a human and a monkey, he was a violent creature with magical powers. He relished the taste of human flesh, often raiding villages in order to carry away captives for purposes of cannibalism or rape.
Sometimes the pongo was a shapeshifter. Female pongos would turn into beautiful women to get close to male victims, then change back to their true forms when it was too late for the men to escape. Pongos and humans could mate and produce hybrid children who looked human, but who had violent, cannibalistic urges from their pongo side.
Pongo reports were met with much skepticism in the scientific community. The pongo had so many supernatural characteristics and behaviors not typical of a biological animal that it just didn't seem like it would ever turn out to be real. These aspects of the pongo from folklore squarely place it within the "big hairy monster" or "hairy biped" category of anomalous cousins of Bigfoot.
The entire world was surprised when, in 1847, the pongo (now known as the gorilla) was officially declared to exist. Of course, it didn't have any of the weird characteristics assigned to it by folklore. The real gorilla is a vegetarian, not a predator. It doesn't capture humans, it doesn't eat humans, and it can't reproduce with humans.Still, the animal's outlandish mythical features were acknowledged in its very name: "gorilla" is derived from the Arabic word for "ghoul."
The story of the pongo's official discovery teaches us that any cryptid, however fantastic it seems, might be real.