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Ramapithecus

Ramapithecus (räməpəthē´kəs, –pĬth´ə–), an extinct group of primates that lived from about 12 to 14 million years ago, for a time regarded as a possible ancestor of Australopithecus and, therefore, of modern humans. Fossils of Ramapithecus were discovered in N India and in E Africa, beginning in 1932. Although it was generally an apelike creature, Ramapithecus was considered a possible human ancestor on the basis of the reconstructed jaw and dental characteristics of fragmentary fossils. A complete jaw discovered in 1976 was clearly nonhominid, however, and Ramapithecus is now regarded by many as a member of Sivapithecus, a genus considered to be an ancestor of the orangutan. See also human evolution.

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Ramapithecus

Ramapithecus Late Miocene and early Pliocene ape, known from fragmentary fossils from E. Africa, south-eastern Europe, and northern India and Pakistan, dating from 14–10 Ma ago, and apparently identical or very similar to the E. African Kenyapithecus. Ramapithecus is regarded by many as transitional between the true Miocene apes (the Dryopithecinae) and the later Hominidae. If this is so, then the human and ape lines diverged prior to the late Miocene, 15–25 Ma ago. More recent evidence, however, suggests that Ramapithecus and the related or identical Sivapithecus are nearer to the evolutionary line that led to the orang-utan.

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Ramapithecus

Ramapithecus A middle to late Miocene ape, known from fragmentary fossils from E. Africa, south-eastern Europe, and northern India and Pakistan, dating from 14–10 Ma ago, and very similar to the E. African Kenyapithecus. Ramapithecus was regarded by many as transitional between the true Miocene apes (the Dryopithecinae) and the later Hominidae; if this were so, then the human and ape lines must have diverged 15–25 Ma ago, prior to the late Miocene. More recent evidence, however, suggests that Ramapithecus and the related or identical Sivapithecus are nearer to the evolutionary line that led to the orang-utan.

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Ramapithecus

Ramapithecus A genus of extinct primates that lived about 12–14 million years ago. Fossil remains of ramapithecines have been found in India and Pakistan, the Near East, and East Africa. Early discoveries of jaw fragments suggested that they chewed from side to side and had fairly short muzzles, both of which are humanoid features. However, subsequent finds, including a complete jaw, were not hominoid, and ramapithecines are now regarded by many authorities as ancestral to the Asian great apes (e.g. orang-utans), not the hominids. See also Dryopithecus; Australopithecus.

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Ramapithecus

Ramapithecus a fossil anthropoid ape of the Miocene epoch, known from remains found in SW Asia and East Africa, and probably ancestral to the orang-utan; it is named from Rama + Greek pithēkos ‘ape’.

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