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Temporal range: Miocene
Ouranopithecus macedoniensis.jpg
Ouranopithecus macedoniensis skull, Muséum national d'histoire naturelle, Paris
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Family: Hominidae
Genus: Ouranopithecus
Bonis & Melentis, 1977

Ouranopithecus macedoniensis
Ouranopithecus turkae

Ouranopithecus is an extinct genus of Eurasian great ape represented by two species, Ouranopithecus macedoniensis, a late Miocene (9.6–8.7 mya) hominoid from Greece and Bulgaria,[1][2] and Ouranopithecus turkae, also from the late Miocene (8.7–7.4 mya) of Turkey.[3]


Based on O. macedoniensis's dental and facial anatomy, it has been suggested that the Ouranopithecus were actually dryopithecines. However, Ouranopithecines are probably more closely related to the Ponginae.[4][5] Some researchers consider O. macedoniensis to be the last common ancestor of apes and humans,[6] and a forerunner to australopithecines and humans,[7] although this is very controversial and not widely accepted. It is true that O. macedoniensis shares derived features with some early hominins (such as the frontal sinus, a cavity in the forehead), but they are almost certainly not closely related species.[8] It has been suggested that it may be a synonym of Graecopithecus freybergi,[9] although this is widely disputed in the literature.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ de Bonis, Louis; Melentis, J (1977). "Les primates hominoides du Vallesien de Macedoine (Grece): etude de la machoine inferieure". Geobias. 10: 849–855. doi:10.1016/s0016-6995(77)80081-8. 
  2. ^ N. Spassov, D. Geraads, L. Hristova, G.N. Markov, G. Merceron, T. Tzankov, K. Stoyanov, M. Böhme, A. Dimitrova. "A hominid tooth from Bulgaria: The last pre-human hominid of continental Europe"
  3. ^ Gulec, Erksin S.; et al. (2007). "A new great ape from the lower Miocene of Turkey". Anthropological Science. 115: 153–158. doi:10.1537/ase.070501. 
  4. ^ Alba, D.M.; et al. (2010). "Enamel thickness in the middle Miocene great apes Anoiapithecus, Picrolapithecus and Dryopithecus". Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 277: 2237–2245. doi:10.1098/rspb.2010.0218. 
  5. ^ Begun, David R. (2005). "Relations among great apes and humans: New interpretations based on the fossil great ape Dryopithecus". American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 37: 11–63. doi:10.1002/ajpa.1330370604. 
  6. ^ de Bonis, Louis; et al. (1990). "New hominoid skull material from the late Miocene of Macedonia in Northern Greece". Nature. 345 (6277): 712–4. doi:10.1038/345712a0. PMID 2193230. 
  7. ^ de Bonis, Louis; Koufos, George D. (2004). "Ouranopithecus and dating the splitting of extant hominoids". Comptes Rendus Palevol. 3: 257–264. doi:10.1016/j.crpv.2004.04.002. 
  8. ^ de Bonis, Louis (1981). "Dental metric variation in early Hominids comparison between Australopithecus afarensis and Ouranopithecus macedoniensis". Comptes Rendus des Sceances. 292: 263–266. 
  9. ^ Andrews, Martin L. (1984). "The phylogenetic position of Graeceopithecus freybergi Koenigswald". Courrier Forschung Institute Senckenberg. 69: 25–40. 
  10. ^ Koufos, George D.; de Bonis, Louis (2005). "The late Miocene Hominoids Ouranopithecus and Graeceopithecus. Implications about their relationships and taxonomy". Annales de Paléontologie. 91: 227–240. doi:10.1016/j.annpal.2005.05.001. 

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