Ramapithecines from China: Evidence from Tooth Dimensions

Rukang Wu and Charles E. Oxnard
Nature, 1983 vol. 306 pp. 258-260
Online version
DOI: 10.1038/306258a0
Abstract: Data obtained from ramapithecine specimens found in Asia, Africa and Europe have suggested the existence of two major subgroups, Ramapithecus and Sivapithecus, with Ramapithecus having pre-human status. Recently, however, it has been proposed that the fossils all belong to a single group, Sivapithecus, which is more closely related to the apes, in particular the orang-utan. Here we analyse data from a series of similar fossils which have been found in late Miocene coalfields in Lufeng, Yunnan Province, China. These include a number of almost complete jaws and five partial skulls which are more complete than any others so far known. A statistical analysis of the overall dimensions of the large number of teeth included in these finds shows that the differences between the groups previously assigned to Ramapithecus and Sivapithecus are greater than those found between the sexes in the most sexually dimorphic of the living great apes. Within the groups the distribution is bimodal and we suggest each group contains sex subgroups.