Temporal range: 12Ma Miocene
Moyà-Solà et al., 2009
Anoiapithecus is an extinct genus of ape thought to be closely related to Dryopithecus. Both genera lived during the Miocene, approximately 12 million years ago. Fossil specimens named by Salvador Moyà-Solà Anoiapithecus brevirostris are known from deposits from Spain.
The discoverers describe Anoiapithecus brevirostris as a hominoid (superfamily Hominoidea) in the Dryopithecine tribe. They believe that it has more modern traits than the Kenyapithecines from which Kenyapithecus wickeri from Kenya brings fragmentary information. The African specimens are considered a sister taxon to the hominids, and 2 million year younger European specimens must be from after the time that these two groups split. This means that hominids may have evolved in Europe.
The name comes from the Anoia River region in Catalonia, where the fossil was found. It has been given the nickname Lluc (since it is a male individual). The name Lluc is the Catalan form of Luke, which in Latin suggests "light" and this discovery enlighted our early evolution
The modern anatomical features that characterized the family Hominidae visible in Lluc's fossil among others are: unique facial pattern for hominoids, nasal aperture wide at the base, high cheek bone, and deep palate.
- Moyà-Solà, S.; Albab, David M.; Almécija, Sergio; Casanovas-Vilar, I; Köhler, M; De Esteban-Trivigno, S; Robles, JM; Galindo, J; Fortuny, J (2009). "A unique Middle Miocene European hominoid and the origins of the great ape and human clade". PNAS 106 (24): 9601–9606. doi:10.1073/pnas.0811730106. PMC 2701031. PMID 19487676..
- "Did first hominids live in Europe?". New Scientist. 6 June 2009. p. 17.
- "Researchers from the Institut Catala de Paleontologia describe a new hominid". EurekAlert!. June 2009. Retrieved October 2012.