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Anoiapithecus and Pierolapithecus
Alba, David M. Department of Paleoprimatology and Human Paleontology, Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.
- Abocador de Can Mata
- Pierolapithecus and Anoiapithecus
- Dryopithecine paleobiodiversity
- Phylogeny and paleobiogeography
- Paleobiology and evolutionary implications
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
Hominoids constitute a natural group of primates that includes gibbons and siamangs (hylobatids or lesser apes), great apes (orangutans and African apes), and humans. Apes currently display a low biodiversity and limited geographic distribution (restricted to southeastern Asia and equatorial Africa). However, in the Miocene [23–5 million years ago (MYA)], hominoids were much more diverse and widely distributed across Africa, Asia, and Europe. Unfortunately, ape fossil remains are usually scarce, given their low population densities and frequent association with (sub)tropical environments, which are unfavorable for fossil preservation. This frequently hinders an accurate assessment of hominoid paleobiodiversity or a conclusive decipherment of hominoid phylogenetic relationships. Two new genera of large-bodied apes from the Miocene of Spain, Pierolapithecus (Fig. 1) and Anoiapithecus (Fig. 2), were described during the 2000s, having significant implications for understanding the role of European apes in the radiation of the great ape–human clade.
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