From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Temporal range: Miocene
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
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. It was discovered in 1837 by Édouard Lartet (1801–1871) in France, with fossils subsequently discovered in Switzerland, Slovakia 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]

They appear to have originated in Asia and extended their range into Europe between 17 and 13 million years ago.[2]

Begun and Harrison list the following species within the genus:[2]

P. antiquus has been referred to previously as P. piveteaui.[3] P. vindobonensis is sometimes considered to be a separate genus, Epipliopithecus.[4][2] 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.
  2. ^ a b c Harrison, Terry (2012). "Chapter 20 Catarrhine Origins". In Begun, David. A Companion To Paleoanthropology. Wiley Blackwell. ISBN 978-1-118-33237-5. Archived from the original on 2013.
  3. ^ "Pliopithecus antiquus Blainville 1839". Synonym: Pliopithecus piveteaui Hürzeler 1954
  4. ^ Harrison, T; Gu, Y (1999). Taxonomy and phylogenetic relationships of early Miocene catarrhines from Sihong, China.

External links[edit]