Fossil Discoveries Augment Europe's Significance in Great Ape Evolution

By Jurassic JennJun 12, 2024 13:37 PMScience
Share:
Fossil Discoveries Augment Europe's Significance
Fossil Discoveries Augment Europe's Significance. Source: australian.museum

Europe's role as a hub for great ape evolution is further emphasized by the discovery of two different species of ancient apes coexisting in present-day Germany 11.6 million years ago. The findings from fossils unearthed in a Bavarian clay pit suggest that Europe housed distinct species of apes with diverse body styles and diets, marking the first time such coexistence has been observed outside of Africa. This was reported by SSPDaily.

The Hammerschmiede site in Germany, known for its 11.6-million-year-old fossils of Danuvius guggenmosi, has yielded new insights. Researchers led by paleontologist Madelaine Böhme from Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen have now identified three fossils from the Danuvius sediment layer as belonging to a newly identified great ape species named Buronius manfredschmidi. These fossils include a partial upper molar, a kneecap, and a partial lower premolar.

Analysis of the size and shape of the Buronius fossils suggests it may have weighed around 10 kilograms, making it the smallest known great ape. It is comparable in size to modern siamangs, classified as a lesser ape. The researchers believe that Buronius had a diet of soft foods, with evidence of a thin outer layer of tooth enamel, and was adept at climbing, as indicated by certain characteristics of the fossilized kneecap.

In contrast, Danuvius, which was about twice the size of Buronius, had thickly enameled teeth suitable for consuming tough foods like mollusks, nuts, roots, underground stems, and small animals. The coexistence of these two distinct sizes and diet preferences at the same location supports the idea that the Miocene ecosystems in Europe fostered the evolution of diverse ape lineages.

The presence of Buronius adds to the already impressive number of European fossil ape genera related to modern great apes from approximately 16 to 6 million years ago. With 16 genera discovered, this surpasses the number found in Africa from the same period. However, the limited number of Buronius fossils leaves some uncertainty regarding its evolutionary status and if it truly represents a distinct species.

Intriguingly, certain features of the Buronius fossils share similarities with the pliopithecoids, a group of Eurasian apes without living descendants. Further investigation, including imaging studies of tooth structure, will shed more light on the evolutionary position of Buronius within the ancient European apes. Regardless of its exact classification, the coexistence of different ape species at Hammerschmiede highlights Europe's influential role in the evolution of primates during the Miocene era.

However, there are differing opinions on whether Buronius and Danuvius both occupied the site. Some scientists suggest that the small teeth described in the study might belong to infant Danuvius individuals, while others raise questions about the species identity of the kneecap and propose that it could even come from an undersized young Danuvius specimen. To resolve these uncertainties, more fossils will be crucial for establishing a clearer understanding of the evolutionary history of great apes and primates in Miocene Europe.

Top Articles
To see a white owl - meaning

The spiritual significance of seeing a white owl in dreams and in reality: symbolism of the totem

Jul 17, 2024 18:20 PM
What does the name Austin mean

The meaning of the name Austin in spiritual terms: what the letters symbolize

Jul 17, 2024 14:13 PM

The meaning behind the Angel number 3: spiritual insights

Jul 17, 2024 11:32 AM

Symbolism of seeing snakes & spiritual meaning of meeting

Jul 12, 2024 16:59 PM
More News
Michael Jordan had a surprising superstition he adhered to before every game

Michael Jordan had a surprising superstition he adhered to before every game

Jul 20, 2024 11:39 AM
 Álvaro Morata

AC Milan Bolster Attack with Alvaro Morata Signing from Atletico Madrid

Jul 20, 2024 11:17 AM

Three zodiac signs to welcome ubiquitous joy: horoscope for July 20

Jul 20, 2024 10:58 AM

The most anticipated TV shows of summer 2024

Jul 20, 2024 10:35 AM
Elvis Presley

10 Fascinating Insights About Elvis Presley

Jul 20, 2024 10:13 AM
Intense solar flares predicted to hit Earth this weekend

Intense solar flares predicted to hit Earth this weekend

Jul 20, 2024 09:52 AM
Laughter at Woman's Reaction When Wife Asks to Split Bill

Laughter Erupts as Wife Stuns Husband with Suggestion to Split Bill: A Hilarious Moment Captured

Jul 20, 2024 09:32 AM
Curried sausages: a budget-friendly delicacy for the whole family

Curried sausages: a budget-friendly delicacy for the whole family

Jul 20, 2024 09:09 AM
This simple hack will help you clean greasy food containers without much effort

This simple hack will help you clean greasy food containers without much effort

Jul 20, 2024 08:48 AM

Three zodiac signs most likely to land their dream job in the upcoming months

Jul 20, 2024 08:26 AM

Google's shortened links to cease functioning by August 2025

Jul 20, 2024 08:05 AM
Banks, airlines, and other major businesses worldwide flooded with Window's 'Blue Screen of Death' after biggest IT outage ever

Banks, airlines, and other major businesses worldwide flooded with Window's 'Blue Screen of Death' after biggest IT outage ever

Jul 20, 2024 07:44 AM
Three zodiac signs will be pleased with positive interpersonal connections: horoscope for July 20

Three zodiac signs will be pleased with positive interpersonal connections: horoscope for July 20

Jul 20, 2024 07:23 AM
Seeking out new educational opportunities: horoscope for July 20-21

Seeking out new educational opportunities: horoscope for July 20-21

Jul 20, 2024 07:04 AM
 Three zodiac signs most likely to encounter tranquility during turbulent times

Three zodiac signs most likely to encounter tranquility during turbulent times

Jul 19, 2024 21:59 PM

Three zodiac signs will get a chance to make steady progress in their work

Jul 19, 2024 21:35 PM

"I got ultimate revenge on my lazy colleague – and my boss backed me"

Jul 19, 2024 21:17 PM
Humans reached Argentina by 20,000 years ago

Humans reached Argentina by 20,000 years ago — and they may have survived by eating giant armadillos, study suggests

Jul 19, 2024 20:56 PM
10 Astonishing Facts About Monica Bellucci

10 Astonishing Facts About Monica Bellucci

Jul 19, 2024 20:34 PM
Cavan Sullivan

Philadelphia Union Midfielder, Cavan Sullivan, Breaks MLS Record as Youngest MLS Player

Jul 19, 2024 20:12 PM
Curry chicken salad with grapes

Curry chicken salad with grapes: a delightful ensemble

Jul 19, 2024 19:52 PM
Microsoft's Hiring of Inflection AI Staff Under Investigation by UK Regulatory Authority

Microsoft's Hiring of Inflection AI Staff Under Investigation by UK Regulatory Authority

Jul 19, 2024 19:29 PM

The three zodiac signs are most likely to find unexpected tranquility in their personal lives

Jul 19, 2024 19:08 PM

The Top 5 Gary Oldman Movies Ranked

Jul 19, 2024 18:46 PM
Three zodiac signs may establish meaningful and sincere connections with their partners

Three zodiac signs may establish meaningful and sincere connections with their partners

Jul 19, 2024 18:25 PM
Woman urged to dump 'barbarian' husband after he cuts pie 'wrong'

Woman urged to dump 'barbarian' husband after he cuts pie 'wrong'

Jul 19, 2024 18:02 PM