Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Oreopithecus Bambolii Gervais, 1872

Enigmatic catarrhine from the late Miocene of Europe belonging to the family Oreopithecidae; monotypic genus. Known from jaws, teeth, and almost complete, but badly crushed, skeleton. The phylogenetic relationship of this genus has been a source of debate for over a century; it has an odd mix of primitive, derived, and completely unique traits. It has been aligned with both the cercopithecines and the hominoids; most current research suggest an ape affinity for this primate; it has been suggested as ancestral to both the hylobatids and the hominids; one researcher proposed that Oreopithecus is descended from the middle Miocene East African genus Nyanzapithecus. Estimated body mass of this genus is 30 kg. Dental formula: 2.1.2.3; dentition suggests folivorous diet. This species has a broad thorax and long forearms; this has been interpreted as indicating either brachiation or suspensory locomotion.

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