Dryopithecus

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Dryopithecus A genus of extinct apes, fossils of which have been found in Europe and Asia and dated to the mid-Miocene (about 16–7 million years ago). Fossils of Dryopithecus and of the similar genus Proconsul are often referred to as dryopithecines. Dryopithecines are believed to have split into several lines, three of which survived to give rise to the chimpanzees and gorillas, the early hominids, and the orang-utans.

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Dryopithecus (drī´ōpəthē´kəs, –pĬth´əkəs), an extinct group of apes. Fossils about 20 million years old have been found in Africa, Asia, and Europe. Dryopithecus had a semierect posture and is generally believed to be ancestral to modern apes and man. Proconsul, a group of fossil apes that may have been the ancestor of the chimpanzee, is considered by some authorities to be a subgroup of Dryopithecus.