The lady's ape: Extinct gibbon discovered in royal ancient Chinese tomb

June 21, 2018

A new genus and species of gibbon has been identified in the most unexpected of places - interred in the tomb of an ancient Chinese noble-woman. The remains of this now extinct Holocene gibbon represent the first documented evidence of ape extinction following the last ice-age, and according to this report by Sam Turvey et al., the gibbon may have also been the first to vanish as a direct result of human activity; the findings thus challenge the notion that ape species haven't been rendered extinct by humans, throughout time. The remains of the gibbon were discovered amidst the grave-menagerie of an approximately 2200-2300 year-old tomb in in the ancient capital city of Chang'an, in modern Shaanxi China. At the time, gibbons were perceived as 'noble,' and also kept as high-status pets. The tomb in which the remains were found - and perhaps the gibbon itself - may have belonged to Lady Xia, the grandmother of China's first emperor. Consisting primarily of a partial facial skeleton, the mysterious gibbon's remains were compared to known living and extinct hylobatids. Their gibbon, which the authors named Junzi imperialis, is a new genus and species, the authors say, based on detailed analyses of cranial and dental measurements. Their results suggest that until recently, eastern Asia supported a previously unknown, yet historically extinct population of apes, and, too, that human-caused primate diversity loss in the past may be underestimated. Historical accounts describe gibbons being caught near Chang'an into the 10th century and inhabiting Shaanxi Province until the 18th century. These recent accounts may represent other undescribed, now extinct, species.
-end-


American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Gibbons Articles from Brightsurf:

New fossil ape is discovered in India
A 13-million-year-old fossil unearthed in northern India comes from a newly discovered ape, the earliest known ancestor of the modern-day gibbon.

Babies born prematurely can catch up their immune systems, study finds
Researchers from King's College London & Homerton University Hospital have found babies born before 32 weeks' gestation can rapidly acquire some adult immune functions after birth, equivalent to that achieved by infants born at term.

Study calculates links between prescription medications and risk for suicide
A review of 922 prescription medications taken by almost 150 million people over an 11-year period shows that just 10 of these drugs were associated with an increased rate of suicide attempts.

Gibbons' large, long-term territories put them under threat from habitat loss
Wild gibbons living in the peat swamps of southern Borneo require between 20 and 50 hectares of forest territory for each group, making their populations particularly vulnerable to habitat loss, according to a study publishing July 31 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Dr.

Study reveals new genomic roots of ecological adaptation in polar bear evolution
Scientists from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Vanderbilt University and Clark University have shed new light on the genomic foundation of the polar bear's ecological adaption by pinpointing rapid changes in the bear's gene copy numbers in response to a diet shifting from vegetation to meat.

2017 North Korean nuclear test 10 times larger than previous tests, new study finds
North Korea detonated a nuclear device in 2017 equivalent to about 250 kilotons of TNT, a new study in AGU's Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth estimates.

Risk of suicide attempt by children doubles if parent uses opioids
In a tale of two epidemics, researchers from the University of Chicago and the University of Pittsburgh found that children of parents who use opioids have an increased risk of attempting suicide.

Parental use of prescription opioids associated with risk of suicide attempt by children
Opioid use by parents was associated with increased risk of suicide attempt by their children in a study that linked medical claims for opioid prescriptions for parents with medical claims for suicide attempts by their children.

For-profit dialysis provider charges private insurers 4 times more than government payers
Private insurers covering people receiving treatment for dialysis paid four times more than government insurance programs such as Medicare paid for the same service.

ZEB1 throttles therapeutic target, protecting KRAS-mutant lung cancer
A cellular identity switch protects a cancer-promoting genetic pathway from targeted therapy, researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center today reported in Science Translational Medicine.

Read More: Gibbons News and Gibbons Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.