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'New' But Extinct Ape Species Discovered in Chinese Tomb

'New' But Extinct Ape Species Discovered in Chinese Tomb
The new ape species is part of the gibbon family like this one. (Evan Spiler/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Friday, 22 June 2018 07:55 PM

A "new" but extinct species of ape was found in the ancient tomb of a noblewoman in Central China.

The burial chamber where the skull and jaw of the extinct but previously unknown gibbon species were found was built an estimated 2,300 years ago in Shaanxi province, ABC News reported.

A study published Friday in the journal Science indicated this may be the first species of ape that became extinct because of the intrusion of humans.

"Our discovery and description of Junzi imperialis suggests that we are underestimating the impact of humans on primate diversity," the study's lead author, Samuel Turvey, said in a statement, ABC News reported.

The Zoological Society of London, an international conservation charity, led the team of Turvey and other scientists who made the discovery. The tomb, which included 12 burial pits, each with animal remains, was first unearthed in 2004.

The study indicated that in addition to the bones of the now-extinct ape, the team found skeletal remains of black bears, cranes, leopards, lynx, and assorted domestic animals.

They believe the royal chamber was that of the grandmother of China's first emperor, Qin Shihuang — Lady Xia.

Another article on the study published in Science indicated gibbons were considered royal primates in Imperial China, and keeping one as a pet was considered a status symbol.

"These findings reveal the importance of using historical archives such as the archaeological record to inform our understanding of conservation and stress the need for greater international collaboration to protect surviving populations of gibbons in the wild," Turvey said, ABC News reported.

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The skull and jaw of a "new" but extinct species of ape was found in the ancient tomb of a noblewoman in Central China.
new, ape, species, extinct, tomb, chinese
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2018-55-22
Friday, 22 June 2018 07:55 PM
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