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What led to the extinction of the largest ape in the world?

What led to the extinction of the largest ape in the world?

With impressive dimensions of about 3 meters in height and a weight of up to 300 kilograms, the largest primates ever recorded in Earth's history are known as Gigantopithecus blackie“It is popularly called”Giants'.

These magnificent creatures inhabited the area that corresponds today China For a period approaching 2 million years.

Despite its long existence and extensive research by paleontologists over the decades, the fossil record covers only four jaws and about 2,000 isolated teeth, revealing the paucity of evidence found so far.

Recently, researchers reported that prehistoric climate changes may have played a crucial role in the extinction of this species, as discussed in an article published in the journal nature.

It seems gigantic Monkeys They were unable to adapt their diet effectively to keep up with rapid changes in the environment.

Image: reproduction

What did giants eat?

In an interview with the Associated Press, Reno Guan Puyao, a researcher at Southern Cross University in Australia and co-author of the study, confirmed that the giants were so large that they had difficulties even moving.

Therefore, they climbed trees in search of new food sources, especially when climate change made resources more scarce.

Despite their possible similarity uncivilized human beings Modern Apes Smaller in size, these giant apes had more selective eating habits than modern-day primates.

It is likely that this species feeds mainly on fruits and flowers found in its tropical environment. But in the absence of these resources, they could have resorted to tree parts with low nutritional value.

To reach this conclusion, researchers analyzed the remains of giants that were discovered in caves in southern China, located between the Yangtze River and the South China Sea.

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Using a comprehensive range of techniques, they dated the preserved teeth and sediments from the Paleolithic period CavesThis reflects a more precise estimate of the primate extinction window, which falls approximately between 215,000 and 295,000 years ago.

Species difficulties

To obtain additional data, the researchers also studied pollen and sediments near the places where fossils of this species were found, and identified signs of environmental change at that time.

The increasing intensity of the rainy and dry seasons transformed dense forests into areas interspersed with grasslands, posing a major challenge to the survival of the giants.

By building a strong understanding of HomeWith the behavior of giants and their chronology, the researchers aim to provide additional insights into the extinction events that unfolded in the ancient world.

This approach is particularly important given the possibility that human activities are pushing the planet toward a possible sixth mass extinction.