Ancient Forest That Could’ve Been Home To Kong-Like Species Discovered

A forest has been found inside a sinkhole in China, leading to speculation about what could be waiting inside.

By Jonathan Klotz | Published

king kong disney

Living in the year 2022 can make it feel like everything has been discovered, but then there are strange reports like this one, about an ancient forest found inside of a sinkhole in China. Reporting by IGN confirms what everyone is thinking while looking at the tweet below; that this is just like Godzilla vs. Kong. For centuries, the theory about a Hollow Earth has circulated among some sci-fi and occult circles, which makes it all the more amazing that there could be some truth to the concept.

Discovered by cave explorers, the sinkhole measures 630ft deep, 1000 ft long, and 490ft wide. The size of the sinkhole is impressive, but the ancient forest found inside is what makes this a historic discovery. Trees inside the sinkhole measured up to 130ft tall while ground-level plants reached up to the shoulders of the exploration team. No new species have been reported as of yet, though the environment is ideal for some type of previously unknown flora or fauna to flourish within the forest, including the potential for an ancient King Kong-like species.

George Veni, executive director of the National Cave and Karst Research Institute in the United States, described the discovery as “this is cool news” during an interview with LiveScience. Veni explains that sinkholes, while a common occurrence around the world, are typically only a meter or two. Thanks to the unique combination of geological factors and climate, southeast China results in visually spectacular sinkholes; though An ancient forest taking root in one of these giant sinkholes is still a strange and raising eyebrows among seasoned researchers.

As an example of how sinkholes can result in strange life flourishing, Veni cites a sinkhole in Western Texas found with tropical ferns inside. The ferns were carried by migrating bats to the cave system, resulting in South American flora thriving underneath the soil thousands of miles away. Veni’s example explains how sinkholes can come to home entire ecosystems, though an ancient forest of the size and scale in China is again, quite weird.

The Hollow Earth theory, which is what makes the ancient forest especially interesting to certain enthusiasts, was popularized by Edmond Halley, who also discovered Halley’s Comet. In 1692, the astronomer and geophysicist published a paper explaining his theory that the Earth housed an entire separate world underneath the crust. Two hundred years later, the Hollow Earth theory was regarded as fringe science and found in science-fiction novels instead of research papers.

One of the most popular interpretation of Hollow Earth comes form Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth. More recently, the Gears of War franchise featured the Locusts, an offshoot of humanity living in a vast, planet wide cave network. An ancient forest underneath the surface of the planet is, against all odds, an actual ecological possibility on our planet.

ancient forest
The heroes of Gears of War fighting off the Locusts, who come from a hollow Earth.

There is something exciting about the possibility of a hidden world, where an ancient forest filled with life is still thriving, that has caused the theory to survive for centuries. For example, Marvel comics has the Savage Land, a tropical world filled with dinosaurs in Antarctica, while Godzilla has the gigantic cave system home to King Kong and an entire species of Kongs. Whenever science fiction and scientific research collide, the results, even if mundane, are always fascinating because of the possibilities.