Saturday, February 18, 2012

Gigantopithecus - the awesome ape

Extinct 300,000 years ago?

We have only teeth and jawbones of the largest primate that ever lived.  Gigantopithecus blacki, when it stood up, might have been 10 feet tall.  It weighed 1,200 pounds, twice the size of the largest gorillas.  Current speculation makes it a giant knuckle-walking orangutan relative, but there's a great deal we don't know.  The name gigantopithecus crops up a lot in speculation about sasquatch, since this is one ape that really was towering and could  - could - have been upright.  .  Why did it go extinct? Its diet may have been too specialized: it focused on bamboo, as pandas do.  The panda has hung on through the periodic die-offs characteristic of bamboo, but maybe Giganto wasn't too lucky. It might also have suffered from competition with the smarter, more agile Homo erectus.  All that aside, though, this is just an awesome creature.

No comments: