"King Kong" is a remake of the real, but even the great ape bones are not many left

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"King Kong" is a remake of the real, but even the great ape bones are not many left

2017-04-26 10:54:21 754 ℃

1935, Hongkong.

A youngyrchaeologist shuttle in the dark alleys of the size of herb stores, looking for Chinese medicine in the "dragon", is also the old animal teeth.

The archaeologist named Kong Nihua (Ralph von Koenigswald). He was born in Germany, with a strong interest in the origin of human beings to Southeast asia.

Up Nihua hole. Source: Wikipedia

Homo erectusHomo erectusIt is generally considered to be the ancestors of modern people have been searching for several times, he turned to look at the orangutan, and found a treasure trove of search tooth fossils: herbal medicine store.

Trinket in cabinet dusty, he saw a giant out of the ordinary.

The up hole Nihua collection of giant molars. Source: Wolfgang Fuhrmannek

Longya? Ape tooth!

The owner of the tooth is not a dragon, but an unknown ape.

Compared with all the ape teeth of the time, it was very unusual. It's nearly an inch wide bite, was two times larger than the human molars. It's a great ape implies that there is an unknown in ancient times in Southeast Asia, which makes the hole Nihua excited. He found, is Gigantopithecus (GigantopithecusBiological teeth.

Hav'e Gigantopithecus recovery plan. Source: smithsonianmag.com

In the next few years, he almost put greatly small Chinese herbal medicine shop were turned over and over, check out thousands of pieces of fossil teeth, of which only three belong to the great apes. Although the number of rare fossils, but the discovery of a new fossil hole can further confirm that they Nihua is a new species.

He also noted that the teeth found Gigantopithecus blackI heap, each preservation state is very similar. The hole can recognize some of them teeth masters: panda, tapir, bears, and extinct stegodon. These are all in the middle of the renewal period, about a million years ago.

Research has just begun, the war started.

In 1942, the Japanese occupation of Java, followed by Nihua hole in the camp. Before leaving, he put those hard teeth with milk bottled up, buried in the neighbor's garden.

German anthropologist Wei Dunrui (Franz Weidenreich) was working in American Museum of Natural History. He is a fan of the hypothesis of the origin of many regions, believing that humans evolved from different parts of the apes. In that Kong Nihua after the encounter, Wei Dunrui in 1945 published the theory can scarcely wait [1] yourself, think of these great apes is likely the ancestors of modern humans.

= Wei Dunrui. Source: germanculture.com.ua/

At that time, the mainstream academic circles quite agree with Wei Dunrui's theory that humans originated in the huge Asian apes. However, I do not recognize Nihua hole. After the war, his gentle and firmly put great apes from the phylogenetic tree of human extraction, moved back to the other apes that branch.

The fossil and molecular genetic evidence in recent decades also confirmed that the common ancestor of modern humans lived in Africa millions of years ago, one in ten million years ago out of Africa, and spread to the rest of the world.

In 50s, Chinese academy also launched a series of research work on a great ape. It's about collecting expedition staff from the local country rhizotomist, eventually came to a cave in Guangxi County of Liucheng.

Guangxi = Liucheng cave. Source: gx12301.net

A hole in the Liucheng, they have six excavated more than one thousand Gigantopithecus teeth, there are three huge jaw fragments.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology (hereinafter referred to as the "ancient ridge") the researchers speculated that these fossils from the size of the ape (BrandtG. blackIStanding height may reach 3.5 meters. However, a lot of Chinese Academy of Sciences in 1980s to participate in the expedition of the University of Iowa director of the Department of ancient Chinese stone (Russell Ciochon), then the estimated Gigantopithecus height of 2.5 meters.

Any great ape primate animal is probably the closest to the king. (source: wookieepedia Chewbacca entry)

But there is no other evidence to settle the dispute, in fact, only so many of the great ape fossils.

Who ate the bones of great apes

But there is more controversy: at the end of 1980, Wushan Chongqing excavated Longgupo site, ancient anthropologists not only found a dozen suspected of ancient human teeth and ape jaw fossils, also found some stone [2]. They can also guess these great apes manufacturing tools, but faced with many questions [3]. As a result, these tools may be in great apes after the hole left by the other Guyuan masterpiece; on the other hand, from the local phenology, the great apes even if they can make tools, raw materials are also more likely to be bamboo, trees, not stone.

Besides, great apes may not be the real owner of these holes may be the main hole mesh bone of the paleo Asian porcupine.

The up most fossils may be eaten quasi Pleistocene porcupine...... Source: Joel Sartore

The large caves that were excavated today are only a few million years ago, just holes or crevices, just for the porcupine to live in. The porcupine need adequate intake of calcium from the long spines, and various animal bones has become a great snack they can drag home.

This also explains why so far discovered Gigantopithecus fossils are mostly concentrated in the cave, and the only remaining teeth. In other words, the world's largest apes left behind the remains of most of the remains, are eaten by the Pleistocene porcupine [4].

The death of King Kong

However, even if only three or four pieces of jaws and teeth from thousands of pieces of porcupines teeth. Archaeologists still drag out an ignoble existence, and learned the cause of the extinction of their possible many stories about the true king of great apes - including. After all, teeth and jaws record their eating habits and eating habits can make these great apes at the time are roughly guess the ecosystem role.

Most of the existing fossil teeth are molars and incisors, chemical analysis of periodontal components did not find traces of meat [5]. This means that, although a large ape, but completely vegetarian.

In addition, there are as many as 10% of the teeth are decayed teeth, and the recent discovery of the jaw and teeth that have been lost. This shows that people's mouth is not good grasp; perhaps because they often eat sweets, such as fruit [6].

At the same time, it has been found that the jaw fragments are suggesting that the ape has a powerful bite force. Linked to the fossil sites, the researchers speculated that such a powerful bite force and may imply that Gigantopithecus as the giant pandas eat bamboo [7].

Hav'e Gigantopithecus imagine life map. Source: Natural History Museum, London

Why can the pandas survive until today, and the great apes but unfortunately extinct?

2015, the ancient Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of the ancient spine Zhang Yingqi and Shi Han, who co authored a paper [8]. They found that the number of fossil teeth, the youngest was the largest, than in other periods Gigantopithecus big half. Not only that, but also the occlusal surfaces of the teeth are more complex.

They are not aware of this change what it means, but this may reflect a change in diet before the great ape extinction, may be caused by the changes of local vegetation.

University of tvbingen, Germany team also agree with this speculation [6]: climate change that has eroded Pleistocene grassland past forests, and woods in the fruit, which Gigantopithecus leaves and branches for a living, not cold on the grassland vegetation.

Arrows to spell out the whole story of the great apes, we still have a long way to go. Source: ZUMA Press, Inc

Over the past eighty years, our understanding of the great apes has far exceeded the hole Nihua first saw teeth when can imagine. However, the scarcity of fossils is still the reality of the "King Kong" heavy fog. Maybe a few years, such as more bones when the image will be delivered from oppression, great apes more plump.

Compile source:


  1. Weidenreich, F. (1945)Giant early from Java and South man China(Vol. 40). American of Natural Museum History.
  2. Wanpo, H., Ciochon, R., Yumin, G., & Larick, R. (1995)EarlyHomoAnd associated artefacts from Asia.Nature, 378 (6554), 275
  3. Ciochon, R. L. (2009)The mystery of Pleistocene ape AsiaNature, 459 (7249), 910-911.
  4. White, T. D. (1975)GigantopithecusReappraisedJournal of Evolution, 4 (3), 219-233. (Human)
  5. Ciochon, R. L., Piperno, D. R., & Thompson, R. G. (1990)Opal phytoliths on the of the extinct found teeth apeGigantopithecus blackIImplications for paleodietary studies.Proceedings of National of Sciences, 87 (20), 8120-8124. (the), Academy
  6. Bocherens, H., Schrenk, F., Chaimanee, Y., Kullmer, O., M, rike, D., Pushkina, D., & Jaeger, J. J. (2015).Flexibility of diet habitat Pleistocene South mammals: Implications the fate of the for giant fossil ape Asian in andGigantopithecus.Quaternary International.
  7. Daegling, D. J., & Grine, F. E. (1994)Bamboo feeding, dental microwear, and diet the Pleistocene of APE.South African of Science, 90 (10), 527-532. (Journal)
  8. Zhang, Y., Kono, R., Wang, W., Harrison, T., Takai, M., Ciochon, R., &, Jin, C. (2015) (T.) (L.)Evolutionary trend dental size Gigantopithecus blackI in in revisited.Journal of evolution, 83, 91-100., human