Monday, 11 January 2016

Why Earth's Largest Ape Went Extinct

by Tia Ghose, Senior Writer | January 11, 2016 08:18am ET

The biggest primate that ever walked the Earth may have died out because of its giant size and limited diet, new research suggests.

Little is known about the mysterious Gigantopithecus blacki, a distant relative to orangutans that stood up to 10 feet (3 meters) tall and weighed up to 595 lbs. (270 kilograms).

However, a new analysis of its diet suggests it lived and ate exclusively in the forest. When its forest habitats shrank about 100,000 years ago, the enormous ape may not have been able to snag enough food to survive and reproduce, and went extinct as a result, said study co-author Hervé Bocherens, a paleontologist at the University of Tübingen in Germany.

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