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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, 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]

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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