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Gigantopithecus

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Gigantopithecus
Gigantopithecus2.jpg
Scientific Classification
Species
  • G. blacki
  • G. bilaspurensis
  • G. giganteus
Gigantopithecus3.jpg
Display at University of Iowa

Gigantopithecus is an extinct ape that was of an unusually large size. This ape is guessed to have the weight of a polar bear (around 600 pounds) but this is only just for the smaller species. There are three different species of Gigantopithecus: G. bilaspurensis, G. blacki, and G. giganteus. Their fossils have been found in almost a dozen different sites in China. [1] The authenticity of the Gigantopithecus is quite possible, however it does not support the different evolutionary ideas of a giant human, giant hominoid, bigfoot, or yeti judging by all of the fossil observations, research, and evidence. [2] Some scientists still believe that in some sites in Vietnam or some provinces in China, there are still G. blacki remains that are scattered among these places. [3] There is no known reason in why the Gigantopithecus went extinct, but some evolutionists suspect that as Bigfoot, and Yeti were giants. They also suspect that human beings descended from the Gigantopithecus. However studies show that the difference in the Gigantopithecus jaw and the human jaw gives no relation to the two. [4] There is no proof or evidence that humans descended from this ape or any of the Great Apes.

Contents

History

The history of the Gigantopithecus began when the smallest size of jawbones were found in 1968 located in Northern India. The fossils that all have been found, prove that the Gigantopithecus is the largest genus of ape. [5]
When the scientists decided to create a Gigantopithecus' model, they had to pick, no doubt the largest primates known. This included the giant extinct baboon (Theropithecus oswaldi), and the gorilla. While they were creating the head for the model, they based their estimations off of the orangutan.[6] Scientists did this because evolutionarily, the Gigantopithecus and the orangutan are of the same descent and supposedly come from a common ancestor called Sivapithecus. [7] It ended up being that they were forced to stop using the orangutan as a model, because a 1,200 pound ape would not live in trees like orangutans. [8]
There was one other scientist that had wanted to create a life-size model of a Gigantopithecus as well. R.L. Ciochon and Bill Munn, a Hollywood monster maker for movies, had decided to make an unbelievable life-size model of a Gigantopithecus. [9] They made a male model due to the guess that females would be half the size of males because of their differences and two distinct groupings in size of teeth. [10]
Since all the different findings of fossils have been found, there have been four different, large mandibles found and studied. [11] These mandibles have been found from the Siwalik Hills and from the caves of the southern part of China and Vietnam. [12] They were found from 1956 to 1958. [13]

Anatomy

A close-up of the Gigantopithecus's jaw.

The Gigantopithecus was a giant ape who weighed to be around 600 pounds, although even some of the largest males weighed in to be around 1,200 pounds. [14] They measured at nine to ten feet in height when standing on their hind legs. [15] They were most likely a large-jawed creature. These creatures are estimated to have walked on their knuckles, forearms, and legs, along with today's gorillas and certain primates, [16] meaning they were also means ground dwelling.[17] Scientists assume that because the Gigantopithecus has such a massive jaw, it must come from adapting to the chewing of plant matter consisting of a lot of fiber; [18] plant matter such as bamboo. [19] Some scientists believe that the female Gigantopithecus was half the size of the male due to the study of the difference of two distinct size groupings of teeth. [20] These two categories were discovered by Charles Oxnard. He is said to have analyzed around 735 different Gigantopithecus teeth. [21]
There was an intricate evaluation of 4 Gigantopithecus' teeth. Scientists identified thirty different structures which they divided into two different categories: the vegetative parts of grasses and the seeds of fruit. [22]


Discovery

Professor Gustav von Koenigswald is credited as the discoverer of Gigantopithecus, after purchasing teeth from the extinct ape in a Chinese drugstore. The Hong Kong drugstore sold the teeth for medicinal purposes. [23], but although large, they by were recognized by Koenigswald to have characteristics similar to human teeth. [24] The druggist had told Koenigswald that the teeth were "dragon's teeth".[25] Koenigswald is credited with numerous other noteworthy finds between 1931 to 1941. [26] with the majority of his fieldwork being done in the vicinity of Java, Indonesia - the site of the discovery of the infamous java man.[27]

Diet and Ecology

A bamboo thicket-the Gigantopithecus' most food abundant source.

Based on the identifications and evaluations of the enamel surface of the Gigantopithecus' teeth, their diet consisted of mostly different kinds of fruits and grasses. [28] Scientists are able to look at old remains attached to the enamel surface of the teeth, which allows them to identify the different kinds of plants they ate. [29] Ciochon came up with a theory that the Gigantopithecus and other megaherbivores would not be able to depend on a limited plant source. In other words, they were forced to depend and live on a plant that was abundant in size. [30] A needed plant that was almost unlimited was Bamboo. This was the nominee for the most likely plant that these animals lived on. [31]

Scientists came up with the conclusion that bamboo was a huge product of the Gigantopithecus' diet due to long evaluation and study of their teeth. Ciochon came to find that their teeth ended up having low crowns with flat, thick-enameled caps. These teeth happened to resemble molars. Then their canine teeth were anything but sharp and pointy. They ended up looking broad and flat, which is what premolars are supposed to look like. [32] All of these observations prove that the animal must have become used to eating foods that were filled with fiber. They would've become accustomed to consuming the bamboo by crushing, grinding, and cutting it with their teeth. [33]

Gigantopithecus Teeth

This is a comparison of a human mandible (far right) with a gorilla mandible (middle), and the lower jaw of a Gigantopithecus (far left).

The Gigantopithecus' teeth were and still are a huge necessity to discovering more information about these giant primates. It is a guess that the Gigantopithecus' giant jaw would be proportionate to it's giant body. Their dental arcade happens to be showing a definite U-shape. This is a shared physical attribute that is known among all of the Great Apes. [34] This U-shape found in the Great Apes happens to differ from the human dental arcade which has a more rounded and parabolic shape. In the picture to the left, it is evident that the U-shape is found in more the Gigantopithecus mandible rather than the human mandible. One can also see that the human mandible has definitely more of a parabolic shape rather than a U-shape like the primates. This supports the creationists view because this means that there couldn't be a way for human beings to descend from the Great Apes. [35] If one was to compare the human mandible to the Gigantopithecus mandible or even the gorilla's mandible, they would come to find that the Gigantopithecus has a massive lower jaw (picture to the left). This gives scientists every reason to believe that the Gigantopithecus was huge in size. [36] The tooth sizing is different for almost every tooth. Their size differentiates by being much greater than any other living primates such as gorillas and orangutans. [37]

Scientists were able to discover the different kinds of food that the Gigantopithecus ate through the observation of their fossilized teeth. They could see that the Gigantopithecus blacki (a species of Gigantopithecus), had a varied diet that consisted of different fruits and grasses. [38] Scientists were able to find opal phytoliths on the teeth of different extinct species. [39] Opal Phytoliths is supposed to represent all of the inorganic substances left from former-living plant organisms and cells. [40] This creates different, almost promising answers about what the Gigantopithecus' diet really was. They found all of these substances just on the fossilized teeth alone. [41]

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