Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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See giantism. Gigantoanthropus Weidenreich, 1945: defunct genus proposed to include the early specimens of Gigantopithecus discovered in 1935; the proposal to hominize these specimens was immediately rejected by most authorities. Gigantopithecus von Koenigswald, 1935: genus of hominoids from the late Miocene into the middle Pleistocene of Asia belonging to the family Pongidae (depending on authority; a minority have suggested hominid status for this genus); two to three species recognized. Known almost entirely from a large collection of teeth and several large mandibles; the original specimens (and holotype) came from Chinese drug stores during the 1930s. This was the largest primate that ever lived, with body size increasing over time; estimated body mass ranges from 190 kg for the earlier species from India and Pakistan (6-9 mya) to 270 kg in the later Chinese and Vietnamese species that lived up until 250 000 years ago. Dental formula:; small vertical incisors, reduced canines, enormous cheek teeth characterized by very thick enamel set in convergent dental arcades in very robust and deep mandibles. Body size, dentition, and mandibular morphology indicates a diet of hard morsels; it has been suggested that the diet was bamboo, but phytoliths recovered from the teeth suggest a more varied diet including fruit. The large body size indicates terrestrial habits. Presumed to be descended from a species of Sivapithecus.

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