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Palaeontology

Real-life King Kong died out due to its diet

By T.K. Randall
January 6, 2016 · Comment icon 11 comments



Gigantopithecus was a very large, very strong species of ape. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.5 Kabir Bakie
A prehistoric species of giant ape went extinct because it couldn't adapt to its changing environment.
Much bigger than a man, the enormous primate Gigantopithecus was twice as large as any of today's great apes and stood up to 10ft tall while weighing in at more than 1,100 pounds.

The species lived across parts of what is now Southern Asia and roamed the planet from around nine million years ago until its disappearance somewhere around 100,000 years ago.
Exactly what caused the demise of these huge forest-dwelling apes has long remained a topic of debate among scientists and to date only a few teeth and jaw fossils have ever been found.

Now however scientists in Germany have put forward a new theory suggesting that the reason the species died out was because it failed to adapt its diet to the changing Pleistocene landscape.

"Due to its size, Gigantopithecus presumably depended on a large amount of food," said Dr. Hervé Bocherens. "When during the Pleistocene era more and more forested areas turned into savanna landscapes, there was simply an insufficient food supply for the giant ape."

Source: Huffington Post | Comments (11)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #2 Posted by Norbert the Powerful 7 years ago
Koko says, "Ape Stupid".
Comment icon #3 Posted by travelnjones 7 years ago
As a giant hominid, I know the feeling. I can't adapt either, kids listening to Taylor Swift and I miss real music like Warlock.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Goodnite 7 years ago
Plenty of meat and bamboo in the world, so why the extinction.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Trenix 7 years ago
This is as believable as the big bang theory.
Comment icon #6 Posted by kewlscot 7 years ago
Dr. Hervé i think is sherlock holmes, remove thoe obvious whats left must be the truth!
Comment icon #7 Posted by Silver Surfer 7 years ago
I heard they just upped and moved to kashyyyk.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Emma_Acid 7 years ago
This is as believable as the big bang theory. Yeah - "very".
Comment icon #9 Posted by highdesert50 7 years ago
Although size does have its advantages, one needs only to calculate basal metabolic rate to see that small has distinct advantages when dealing with limited resources. Caloric intake dictates survival.
Comment icon #10 Posted by AustinHinton 7 years ago
The main theory I have heard about Gig extinction places the blame on Pandas. Basically, Pandas evolved to be better bamboo munchers, and Gig simply couldn't "keep up" with the Pandas, at least in evolutionary terms.
Comment icon #11 Posted by seax 7 years ago
All you can do is speculate and I could see this as being a reason, but I ask the question would they not move to other areas that provided food? It seems that many large mammals have disappeared. Its almost like their welcome ran out here. No one really knows, just theories...climate change, disease, lack of resources for them, or an imbalance in predator vs plant eater for whatever reason. Maybe a gene just cut off over time ensuring a slow controlled demise...but I feel there is more than we know but perhaps one day someone will find the culprit. seax


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