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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Cause of the King Kong extinction

Gigantopithecus blacki is the largest ape ever known, the possibility of extinction of this great ape species because low nutrient diet. Around 80 years ago, Gustav Heinrich Ralph von Koenigswald, a Dutch anthropologist has discovered the giant human-like tooth in a drug store in Hong Kong, and and named the animal it came from Gigantopithecus.

The extinction of Gigantopithecus has been
 blamed on switching to a fruit-filled diet.  
(Picture from:  http://www.newscientist.com/)
Since then, thousands more large teeth – and three jawbones – have come to light in southern Asia. They show that Gigantopithecus stood up to 3 meter (9.8 ft) tall and weighing up to 540 kilograms (1,200 lb), making it the largest known ape and was probably related to orangutans.

But why it went extinct remains unclear, as quoted by the New Scientist. Yingqi Zhang from the Chinese Academy of Sciences's Key Laboratory of Evolutionary Systematics of Vertebrates in Beijing, has analyzed the 17 newly discovered Gigantopithecus teeth.

The giant ape teeth was about 400 thousand years, is among the youngest of the remaining monkeys have ever found. This means that the teeth belong to the last giant apes who walked on Earth. Most of the teeth are eroded that indicates a problem in their diet, said Zhang.
Gigantopithecus species compared with a 1.8 meter tall person. (Picture from: http://animalsversesanimals.yuku.com/)
"There is something bad before Gigantopithecus's extinction, and I think that comes from food," continues Zhang. This giant ape should change their eating patterns because the climate became more cooler and their favorite foods - most likely bamboo - a rare find.

From the teeth showing the giant ape turn devoured the poor nutrient fruit but rich in enamel-eroding acids, said Zhang further. But the fruit was good for most of the apes, said Kornelius Kupczik of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. "Chimpanzee devoured many fruits that are very bitter or acidic to the human palate, but the chimpanzee teeth are not damaged, he said. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | NEW SCIENTIST | SCI-NEWS]
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