Research: Climate Change Caused the Extinction of the Largest Ape

According to current research, a long-extinct great ape species most likely vanished hundreds of thousands of years ago when its preferred fruits became inaccessible during dry seasons due to climate change. Gigantopithecus blacki is the name given to the species. It was originally found in China’s south. It had a height of three meters and a maximum weight of 295 kg. It stands for the biggest great ape that scientists are aware of. Renaud Joannes-Boyau described the animal as “just a massive animal—just really, really big.” He works as a researcher at Southern Cross University in Australia. He contributed to the study’s writing, which was just published in the journal Nature.

However, its size might have also been a drawback. “When food starts to become scarce, it’s so big it can’t climb trees to explore new food sources,” stated Joannes-Boyau. The enormous primates probably resembled current orangutans in appearance. In the Guangxi region of China, it lived in the forest for around two million years. They consumed a variety of vegetation, such as fruits and flowers, up until the environment started to shift. The production of fruits in the forests of Guangxi decreased approximately 600,000 years ago. There were longer stretches of dry weather in the area. To understand more about the alterations and their consequences, researchers looked at pollen and silt discovered in underground spaces known as caves.

The scientists claim that the enormous apes did not vanish suddenly. They most likely vanished between 215,000 and 295,000 years ago.  Smaller apes might have been able to climb trees when the environment changed and look for other kinds of food. However, the big apes’ diet was discovered to contain less nutrients as a result of their increased consumption. Reeds, which are thin grasses, and tree bark were among the least nutrient-dense foods. “The species’ preferred food was no longer available due to changes in the forest,” Zhang Yingqi of China’s Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology stated. He contributed to the study’s writing.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.