The mystery primate went extinct long ago. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Julielangford
The remains of an extinct species of ape have been found inside a 2,300-year-old burial chamber.
The partial skull of the unknown primate was discovered inside the tomb of Lady Xia - the grandmother of China's first emperor, Qin Shihuang - in Shaanxi Province, central China.
The most likely explanation is that it was once kept by Xia as a luxury pet.
The remains of other animals, including bears and leopards, were also found in the chamber.
According to scientists, the ape, which has been named Junzi imperialis
, went extinct long ago.
"All of the world's apes - chimpanzees, gorillas, orang-utans and gibbons - are threatened with extinction today due to human activities, but no ape species were thought to have become extinct as a result of hunting or habitat loss," said lead researcher Dr Samuel Turvey.
"However, the discovery of the recently extinct Junzi changes this, and highlights the vulnerability of gibbons in particular."
Source: BBC News | Comments (7)
China, Tomb, Gibbon