Nav: Home

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:

Quality of psychiatric treatment -- not number of beds -- should be focus of suicide prevention
Health care providers should focus on the overall quality of psychiatric care, depression screening and outpatient services to prevent suicide, not the number of available inpatient psychiatric beds, argue researchers from the University of Chicago and Columbia University in a new statistical analysis.
Mandatory headwear does not influence surgical site infections
Surgical site infections are noteworthy and costly health complications. Patients with infections are likely to stay longer an intensive care unit and a hospital.
New broad-spectrum antiviral protein can inhibit HIV, other pathogens in some primates
University of Colorado Boulder researchers have discovered that a protein-coding gene called Schlafen11 (SLFN11) may induce a broad-spectrum cellular response against infection by viruses including HIV-1.
Research reveals insight into how lung cancer spreads
A cellular component known as the Golgi apparatus may play a role in how lung cancer metastasizes, according to researchers at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center whose findings were reported in the Nov.
Virologists unravel mystery of late C20th gibbon leukaemia outbreak
The mystery of an outbreak of lymphoma and leukaemia in gibbon colonies in the US, Bermuda and Thailand in the late 1960s and early 1970s has been solved by animal disease detectives at The University of Nottingham.
Research connects discrimination, thoughts of death among African-Americans
Racial discrimination, whether it's derogatory language or unequal treatment, impacts communities and individuals in different ways.
Bacterial resistance to copper in the making for thousands of years
Human use of copper dating back to the Bronze Age has shaped the evolution of bacteria, leading to bugs that are highly resistant to the metal's antibacterial properties.
Irradiated anthrax can be sequenced -- fast!
These days, mail addressed to selected government offices gets irradiated, in order to kill any biological agents, notably anthrax spores.
A new primate species at the root of the tree of extant hominoids
Researchers from the 'Institut CatalĂ  de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont' have described the new genus and species, Pliobates cataloniae, based on a skeleton recovered from the landfill of Can Mata (Catalonia, NE Spain).
Extinct ape species resets the scale on humans' ancestors
A team of researchers from the George Washington University and the Institut CatalĂ  de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont identified a new genus and species of small ape that existed before the evolutionary split of humans/great apes (hominids) and gibbons (the 'lesser apes' or hylobatids).

Related Gibbons Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Moving Forward
When the life you've built slips out of your grasp, you're often told it's best to move on. But is that true? Instead of forgetting the past, TED speakers describe how we can move forward with it. Guests include writers Nora McInerny and Suleika Jaouad, and human rights advocate Lindy Lou Isonhood.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#527 Honey I CRISPR'd the Kids
This week we're coming to you from Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. There, host Bethany Brookshire led a panel of three amazing guests to talk about the promise and perils of CRISPR, and what happens now that CRISPR babies have (maybe?) been born. Featuring science writer Tina Saey, molecular biologist Anne Simon, and bioethicist Alan Regenberg. A Nobel Prize winner argues banning CRISPR babies won’t work Geneticists push for a 5-year global ban on gene-edited babies A CRISPR spin-off causes unintended typos in DNA News of the first gene-edited babies ignited a firestorm The researcher who created CRISPR twins defends...