Temporal range: 12–9Ma Miocene
|Mandible fragment of Dryopithecus fontani from Saint-Gaudens, France (Middle Miocene, 11,5 My) ; cast from Museum national d'histoire naturelle, Paris|
Dryopithecus was a genus of apes that is known from Eastern Africa into Eurasia during the late Miocene period. The first species of Dryopithecus was discovered at the site of Saint-Gaudens, Haute-Garonne, France, in 1856. Other dryopithecids have been found in Hungary, Spain, and China.
Like Sivapithecus, Dryopithecus was suspensory, had a large brain, and a delayed development, but, unlike the former, it had a gracile jaw with thinly enameled molars and suspensory forelimbs; Begun 2004 notes that the similarities and differences between them provides insight into the timing and paleogeography of hominid origins and the phylogenetic divide between Asian and Afro-European great apes. 
Dryopithecus was about 4 feet long, and more closely resembled a monkey than a modern ape. The structure of its limbs and wrists show that it walked in a similar way to modern chimpanzees, but that it used the flat of its hands, like a monkey, rather than knuckle-walking, like modern apes. Its face exhibited klinorhynchy, i.e. it was tilted downwards in profile.
It likely spent most of its life in trees, and was probably a brachiator, similar to modern orangutans and gibbons. Its molars had relatively little enamel, suggesting that it ate soft leaves and fruit, an ideal food for a tree-dwelling animal.
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- Xue, Xiang-Xu; Delson, Eric (1989). "A new species of Dryopithecus from Gansu, China" (PDF). Chinese Science Bulletin (34): 223–230.