Prehistoric Miniature Great Ape Species Discovered in Germany

Prehistoric Miniature Great Ape Species Discovered in Germany

Scientists have identified a new species of great ape, Buronius manfredschmidi, which lived approximately 11.6 million years ago. The discovery was made at the Hammerschmiede fossil site in Bavaria, Germany, and the findings were published in the journal PLOS ONE. The species, estimated to weigh around 10 kilograms, is the smallest known great ape and provides insight into the diversity of hominids during the late Miocene epoch.

The research team, led by Madelaine Böhme from the University of Tübingen and David Begun from the University of Toronto, found partial remains including two teeth and a patella. These remains suggest that Buronius manfredschmidi was an adept climber with a diet primarily composed of soft foods such as leaves. The fossils were discovered in the same stratigraphic layer as another great ape species, Danuvius guggenmosi, which was larger and had a different diet, indicating the two species coexisted without competing for resources.

This discovery marks the first known instance of a European Miocene fossil site containing multiple ancient ape species. The findings may prompt re-examination of other European fossils to explore further examples of dual-ape cohabitation and contribute to understanding the evolutionary history of hominids.


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