Ramapithecus


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Related to Ramapithecus: Australopithecus

Ramapithecus

(räməpəthē`kəs, –pĭth`ə–), former name for an extinct group of primates that lived from about 12 to 14 million years ago, for a time regarded as a possible ancestor of AustralopithecusAustralopithecus
, an extinct hominin genus found in Africa between about 4 and 1 million years ago. At least seven species of australopithecines are now generally recognized, including Australopithecus afarensis, A. africanus, A. bahrelghazali, A.
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 and, therefore, of modern humans. Fossils of Ramapithecus were discovered in N India and in E Africa, beginning in 1932. Although it was generally an apelike creature, Ramapithecus was considered a possible human ancestor on the basis of the reconstructed jaw and dental characteristics of fragmentary fossils. A complete jaw discovered in 1976 was clearly nonhominin, however, and Ramapithecus fossils are now regarded by many as belonging to the genus Sivapithecus, which is considered to be an ancestor of the orangutanorangutan
, an ape of the genus Pongo, found in swampy coastal forests of Borneo and Sumatra. Highly specialized for arboreal life, orangutans usually travel by grasping branches with hands and feet and moving from tree to tree. Adult males are about 4 1-2 ft (1.
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. See also human evolutionhuman evolution,
theory of the origins of the human species, Homo sapiens. Modern understanding of human origins is derived largely from the findings of paleontology, anthropology, and genetics, and involves the process of natural selection (see Darwinism).
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.

Ramapithecus

[‚räm·ə′pith·ə·kəs]
(paleontology)
The genus name given to a fossilized upper jaw fragment found in the Siwalik hills, India; closely related to the human family.
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