Saturday, January 09, 2016

Did Gigantopithecus go Extinct due to its Large Size?

Sometimes, in evolution, the bigger they are, the harder they fall.

And Gigantopithecus was pretty darn big. Fossils indicate it stood as high as 10 feet (3 meters) and weighed up to 1,100 pounds (500 kilograms)

If you’re an animal, there are advantages to being gigantic. You’re less vulnerable to predators, and you’re able to cover a lot of territory when looking for food. Gigantopithecus thrived in the tropical forests of what is now southern China for six to nine million years.

But around 100,000 years ago, at the beginning of the last of the Pleistocene ice ages, it went extinct—because in the changed climate its size had become a fatal handicap, a new study suggests.

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