February 29, 2024

Gigantopithecus: why the largest ape of all time became extinct

The new discoveries provide new data about the giant ape

To gain more clarity on the existence of the ancient ape, the team first dated sediment samples from 22 caves in southern China's Guangxi Province. Some sites have been found Gigantopithecus blackie It stopped visibly, and fossil remains of primates appeared there. Experts conducted the age determination process using six different methods in order to determine the most accurate time frame possible. Among other things, they used optically stimulated luminescence and the uranium-thorium method to date the sediments. In the same way they determined age Gigantopithecus-Fossils.

Live accordingly J Blackie 2.3 million years ago, but they only became extinct between 295,000 and 215,000 years ago, roughly 255,000 years ago. From pollen analyses, the researchers concluded that the ecology of great apes changed significantly over the past two million years: while the species flourished and increased in size until about 700,000 years ago, the decline likely began after that. The primary forest with dense treetops gradually gave way to open grassland, rich in ferns. In addition, more distinct classes seem to have developed. Charcoal remains show that it was burned frequently, so it likely became drier.

This change had a negative impact on the giant ape's diet, which was mainly based on fruit. In addition, forest dwellers must have found it more difficult to obtain water. It appears that what the primates consumed as a substitute was less nutritious. The research team concludes this through isotope analysis of teeth. J Blackie He was unable to adapt to long-term changes – unlike his relative Bongo Willow Ritchiea type of orangutan that became extinct much later. Giganthopithecus It probably remained mainly on land and roamed a relatively small area. P. willowreichi On the other hand, he began to adapt his diet more flexibly, walking further trails and climbing trees. »J Blackie He was a consummate specialist, compared to those who were more flexible and adaptable [Spezies] “Like an orangutan,” says Yingqi Zhang, according to a press release. “This ultimately led to his downfall.”

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