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Temporal range: Late Miocene - Pliocene
Pliopithecus antiquus.jpg
Mandible fragment of Pliopithecus antiquus from Sansan, France; cast from Museum national d'histoire naturelle, Paris
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Suborder: Haplorrhini
Infraorder: Simiiformes
Parvorder: Catarrhini
Superfamily: Pliopithecoidea
Family: Pliopithecidae
Subfamily: Pliopithecinae
Genus: Pliopithecus
Gervais, 1849
Pliopithecus antiquus jaw seen from above

Pliopithecus is a genus of extinct primates of the Miocene and Pliocene. It was discovered in 1837 by Édouard Lartet (1801–1871) in France, with fossils subsequently discovered in Switzerland and Spain.

Pliopithecus' had a similar size and form to modern gibbons, to which it may be related, although it is probably not a direct ancestor. It had long limbs, hands, and feet, and may have been able to brachiate, swinging between trees using its arms. Unlike gibbons, it had a short tail, and only partial stereoscopic vision.[1]

Anapithecus is a close relative and was initially considered a subgenus of Pliopithecus.


  1. ^ Palmer, D., ed. (1999). The Marshall Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals. London: Marshall Editions. p. 291. ISBN 1-84028-152-9. 

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