Oreopithecus


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Oreopithecus

(ôr'ēōpĭth`əkəs, –pĭthē`kəs), extinct genus of apes whose fossils have been found in E Africa and Italy. It is best known through specimens preserved in coal deposits. It lived in swampy areas, was herbivorous, and had long arms. It has some similarities to later ancestors of humans, probably as a result of parallel evolution. Although related to predecessors of modern apes and humans, it is generally classed in a family by itself.
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These Miocene apes all lacked the suite of enhanced specialisations for suspensory locomotion exhibited by the more specialised extant great apes (although the insular Oreopithecus of the latest Miocene of southern Europe perhaps approximated it).
Washington, July 26 ( ANI ): For decades, the movement of an ancient ape species called Oreopithecus has been a matter of debate for scientists.
The findings refute a long body of evidence, suggesting that Oreopithecus had the capabilities for bipedal (moving on two legs) walking.
Consider Oreopithecus, an ape that lived on an island near Italy between 9 million and 7 million years ago.
But Oreopithecus differed from Ardi in critical ways, Lovejoy responds, such as having extremely long arms.
They pointed out the cases of the Ramapithecus discovery in south Asia, which was touted in the 1960s and '70s as a human ancestor, and Oreopithecus bambolii discovered in Italy, which was assumed to be a human ancestor because of some of its skeletal features.
With a big toe that angled sharply away from other toes on the same foot, Oreopithecus probably shuffled only short distances to obtain fruit and other food, according to the researchers.
The animal, known as Oreopithecus bambolii, boasted an opposable thumb and a grasping ability much like that exhibited by members of the human evolutionary family 3 million to 4 million years old, according to a new report.
Moya-Sola's team studied Oreopithecus fossils previously found at an Italian site and now held at the Natural History Museum in Basel, Switzerland.
Further study of the ancient Mediterranean creature, known as Oreopithecus bambolii, should help to clarify how evolutionary pressures led to an upright stance, say Meike Kohler and Salvador Moya-Sola, both of the M.
Oreopithecus fossils have been excavated for more than a century in parts of central Italy.
Harrison discusses new 17-million-year-old Oreopithecus specimens in the December AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY.