Menu

SAMUEL TURVEY/ZSL

Bones in Ancient Tomb Are of Newly Discovered Ape Genus

The now-extinct gibbon was buried with the grandmother of China’s first emperor and her many pets.

Jun 21, 2018
Kerry Grens

ABOVE: Skull of Junzi imperialis, a newly described extinct gibbon from China

A skull extracted from a 2,200-year-old tomb in China represents a newly identified—and already extinct—gibbon, Junzi imperialis, paleontologists report today (June 21) in Science. Its human companion in the crypt is thought to be Lady Xia, the grandmother of China’s first emperor Qin Shihuang.

“I don’t doubt for a second that it’s a new species, and probably a new genus,” Thomas Geissmann, a gibbon expert at the University of Zurich who was not involved in the study, tells Science. “We can assume that this vast area of central China [once] had many other species.”

Lady Xia’s tomb, discovered in 2004, held a menagerie of remains—leopard, lynx, black bear, crane, and other animals that were buried with her. Several years ago, Samuel Turvey of the Zoological Society of London was visiting Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology in China when he encountered the gibbon skull. Not allowed to extract DNA from the remains, Turvey and colleagues instead built a 3-D scan of the bones and compared it to data from other gibbon genera.

Junzi’s distinctive molars and other cranial features set it apart from other known gibbons. “It’s clearly a weird specimen,” John Fleagle, a primate anatomist at Stony Brook University who did not participate in the study, tells National Geographic.

Not only did the researchers find that Junzi is quite different from other gibbons, but it’s also no longer around. “[T]here is no evidence that gibbons have lived in the region where this specimen was found for many hundreds, if not thousands, of years,” coauthor Helen Chatterjee of University College London tells The Atlantic.

February 2019

Big Storms Brewing

Can forests weather more major hurricanes?

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

Bio-Rad Releases First FDA-Cleared Digital PCR System and Test for Monitoring Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Response
Bio-Rad Releases First FDA-Cleared Digital PCR System and Test for Monitoring Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Response
Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: BIO and BIOb), a global leader of life science research and clinical diagnostic products, today announced that its QXDx AutoDG ddPCR System, which uses Bio-Rad’s Droplet Digital PCR technology, and the QXDx BCR-ABL %IS Kit are the industry’s first digital PCR products to receive U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance. Used together, Bio-Rad’s system and kit can precisely and reproducibly monitor molecular response to treatment in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).
Bio-Rad Showcases New Automation Features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer at SLAS 2019
Bio-Rad Showcases New Automation Features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer at SLAS 2019
Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: BIO and BIOb) today showcases new automation features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer during the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening 2019 International Conference and Exhibition (SLAS) in Washington, D.C., February 2–6. These capabilities enable the ZE5 to be used for high-throughput flow cytometry in biomarker discovery and phenotypic screening.
Andrew Alliance and Sartorius Collaborate to Provide Software-Connected Pipettes for Life Science Research
Andrew Alliance and Sartorius Collaborate to Provide Software-Connected Pipettes for Life Science Research
Researchers to benefit from an innovative software-connected pipetting system, bringing improved reproducibility and traceability of experiments to life-science laboratories.
Corning Life Sciences to Feature 3D Cell Culture Technologies at SLAS 2019
Corning Life Sciences to Feature 3D Cell Culture Technologies at SLAS 2019
Corning Incorporated (NYSE: GLW) will showcase advanced 3D cell culture technologies and workflow solutions for spheroids, organoids, tissue models, and applications including ADME/toxicology at the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS) conference, Feb. 2-6 in Washington, D.C.