Lufengpithecus

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Lufengpithecus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Family: Hominidae
Subfamily: Ponginae
Genus: Lufengpithecus
Wu, 1987
Species

See text

Lufengpithecus is a genus of extinct ape generally placed in the Ponginae subfamily. It is known from thousands of dental remains and a few skulls, it is a large ape thought to weigh about 50 kg (110 lb).[1] It contains three species: L. lufengensis, L. hudienensis and L. keiyuanensis.

Characteristics[edit]

Like Sivapithecus, Lufengpithecus has thick molar enamel and relatively low canine teeth, especially in females. The lower third premolars sometimes have a slight second cusp, denoting a shift from their principal role as cutting teeth in other ape species.[citation needed]

While Lufengpithecus is generally considered to be a primitive pongine by most Western observers, Chinese scientists have noted a set of features that are more reminiscent of hominines. These include a broad interorbital distance, an "African" subnasal morphology, frontal sinuses, and a number of dental similarities. Also, basicranial and postcranial remains indicate it may have had adaptations for a significant degree of bipedalism. The ultimate position of Lufengpithecus in hominoid phylogeny requires more research.[citation needed]

A single mandiblular fragment with P4 and M1 from the site of Longgupo in Sichuan, China, originally assigned to the genus Homo, has been argued to be similar to Lufengpithecus, suggesting the genus may have survived until as recently as two million years ago, possibly overlapping with both Gigantopithecus and ancient Pongo in the region.[2] One of the original authors who assigned the Longgupo specimen to Homo has since reversed position and now considers it to be a "mystery ape".[3]

A possibly related species from Thailand has recently been assigned to the new genus and species Khoratpithecus chiangmuanensis.[4] This species is known only from teeth, but these appear to be intermediate in morphology between Sivapithecus and recent orangutans. At 10 million years old, the fossils may be ancestral to later Pongo. In 2004, the lower jaw and teeth of K. piriyai dated between 9 and 7 million years were described as a potential orangutan ancestor.[5]

Sep. 6, 2013 — A team of researchers has discovered the cranium of a fossil ape from Shuitangba, a Miocene site in Yunnan Province, China. The juvenile cranium of the fossil ape Lufengpithecus is significant, according to team member Nina Jablonski, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at Penn State.

Species[edit]

Lufengpithecus lufengensis[edit]

Lufengpithecus lufengensis is a fossil ape recovered from lignite (soft coal) beds at the Shihuiba Locality in Lufeng County, Yunnan, China, dating to the latest Miocene. It was originally thought to represent two distinct species, Sivapithecus yunnanensis, thought to be an ancestor of Pongo (orangutans), and Ramapithecus lufengensis, thought to be an early human ancestor. The recognition in the 1980s that "Ramapithecus" fossils were females of Sivapithecus led to the creation of the new genus and species Lufengpithecus lufengensis to accommodate the large collection of hominoid fossils recovered at Lufeng in the 1970s. The species was recognized to have a very large degree of sexual dimorphism, more comparable to that seen in cercopithecoid monkeys than in any living ape.[1] The fossil remains from Shihuiba included a number of relatively complete but severely crushed crania of both male and female specimens.

Lufengpithecus hudienensis[edit]

In the 1980s and 1990s similar fossils were excavated from a number of localities in Yuanmou County, Yunnan, China, generally attributed to a new species L. hudienensis.[citation needed] The specimens include a large number of teeth, mandibular and maxillary fragments and the facial skeleton of a juvenile, comparable in dental age to the famous Taung infant australopithecine from South Africa.

Lufengpithecus keiyuanensis[edit]

Previous hominoid material collected in the 1950s at the Keiyuan colliery site in Yunnan and attributed to Dryopithecus keiyuanensis were subsequently assigned to L. keiyuanensis.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Fleagle, John G. (25 September 1998). Primate Anatomy and Evolution (second ed.). Academic Press. pp. 474–475. ISBN 978-0-12-260341-9. 
  2. ^ Etler, D. A.; Crummett, T. L.; Wolpoff, M. H. (2001). "Longgupo: Early Homo colonizer or late Pliocene Lufengpithecus survivor in south China?" (pdf). Human Evolution 16: 1. doi:10.1007/BF02438918.  edit
  3. ^ Ciochon, R. L. (2009). "The mystery ape of Pleistocene Asia" (pdf). Nature 459 (7249): 910–911. doi:10.1038/459910a. PMID 19536242.  edit
  4. ^ Chaimanee, Y.; Jolly, D.; Benammi, M.; Tafforeau, P.; Duzer, D.; Moussa, I.; Jaeger, J. J. (2003). "A Middle Miocene hominoid from Thailand and orangutan origins" (pdf). Nature 422 (6927): 61–65. doi:10.1038/nature01449. PMID 12621432.  edit
  5. ^ Chaimanee, Y.; Suteethorn, V.; Jintasakul, P.; Vidthayanon, C.; Marandat, B.; Jaeger, J. J. (2004). "A new orang-utan relative from the Late Miocene of Thailand" (pdf). Nature 427 (6973): 439–441. doi:10.1038/nature02245. PMID 14749830.  edit
  6. ^ Harrison, T.; Xueping, J.; Su, D. (2002). "On the systematic status of the late Neogene hominoids from Yunnan Province, China" (pdf). Journal of Human Evolution 43 (2): 207–227. doi:10.1006/jhev.2002.0570. PMID 12160716.  edit

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130906102634.htm