Image of the Day: New Apes

When compared to teeth from Homo erectus and orangutans, the remains from an ancient ape appear to belong to a new genus.

Apr 17, 2019
Chia-Yi Hou

ABOVE: Reconstructed Homo erectus jaw (left), remains of a newly identified ape species, Meganthropus palaeojavanicus (middle), and an orangutan jaw (right)

A species of ape discovered in Indonesia in 1941 and described in 1950 does not belong to the same genus as Homo erectus or the orangutans (Pongo), scientists reported on April 8 in Nature Ecology & Evolution. By examining the teeth of the ape’s remains and comparing characteristics such as enamel thickness to the teeth of H. erectus and orangutans, the authors suggest that this species may belong to a new genus that lived 1 million years ago.

C. Zanolli et al., “Evidence for increased hominid diversity in the Early to Middle Pleistocene of Indonesia,” Nature Ecology & Evolution, doi:10.1038/s41559-019-0860-z, 2019.

Lower jaw fragment of ape species, Meganthropus palaeojavanicus

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