Potassiumargon dating early human fossils
Some experts think it may have been only a little larger than the largest pri- mates alive today, adult male silverback gorillas.52 This would make Giganto about 6 feet tall (under 2 meters), with a weight of about 400 pounds (181.6 kilograms).Koenigswald decided that his find must have been bigger than any known primate.He named it Gigantopithecus, or “giant ape.” World War II broke out just then, and Koenigswald, who was working on the South- east Asian island of Java, was captured by the Japanese.About 40 million years ago temperatures on Earth began to cool.The lush forests disappeared from places like North America and Europe, and so did the primates.
Apes are generally larger than mon- ORIGINS 36 Humans: An Evolutionary History-Origins-27491 PL409-13/4234 final Origins_001-112: Layout 1 4/13/09 AM Page 36 keys.Interestingly, the proportions of its hands—the length of the thumb relative to the fingers—were closer to those of humans than to apes.The scientific jury is still out on whether Proconsul was a true ape.Since then scientists have found more Gigantopithecus fossils in China, India, and Vietnam.Most of the finds are teeth, but there are a few jaw- bones as well.
Although they typically walk on four legs, as monkeys do, they can also walk upright on two legs, and they sometimes do this for short distances. Paleontologists trace their grad- ual appearance among various kinds of primates they call stem apes or ape- like primates.