†Gigantopithecus blacki †Gigantopithecus bilaspurensis †Gigantopithecus giganteus
Gigantopithecus (from the Greek gigas - γίγας "giant", and pithecus - πίθηκος "ape") is an extinct genus of ape that existed from roughly one million years to as recently as three-hundred thousand years ago, in what is now China, India, and Vietnam, placing Gigantopithecus in the same time frame and geographical location as several hominin species. The fossil record suggests that the Gigantopithecus blacki species were the largest apes that ever lived, standing up to 3 metres (9.8 ft), and weighing up to 540 kilograms (1,200 lb).
The genus has entered the popular culture lexicon as a result of cryptozoologic claims.
The first Gigantopithecus remains described by an anthropologist were found in 1935 by Ralph von Koenigswald in an apothecary shop. Fossilized teeth and bones are often ground into powder and used in some branches of traditional Chinese medicine. Von Koenigswald named the theorized species Gigantopithecus.
Since then relatively few fossils of Gigantopithecus have been recovered. Aside from the molars recovered in Chinese traditional medicine shops, Liucheng Cave in Liuzhou, China has produced numerous Gigantopithecus blacki teeth as well as several jawbones. Other sites yielding significant finds were in Vietnam and India. These finds suggest the range of Gigantopithecus was southeast Asia.
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