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Scientists Discover Smallest Great Ape That Only Grew to Size of Toddler

Scientists have discovered a new species of great ape which lived 11 million years ago and only ever grew to the size of a human toddler, making it the smallest known to science. The now-extinct ape species, which has been named Buronius manfredschmidi, was uncovered at the Hammerschmiede fossil site in Bavaria.

About Buronius manfredschmidi

The smallest known great ape species, dating back 11 million years, has been unearthed in Germany, according to the Guardian.This newly identified species, named Buronius manfredschmidi, is far smaller than any previously known great ape, with an estimated weight of just 10 kg (1 stone 8 lbs), roughly comparable to a human toddler.

What did Buronius look like?

  • From the size of the fossils, the authors estimate that Buronius weighed around 10kg. Roughly the same as a French bulldog, making the new species the “smallest known hominid taxon” (great ape).
  • Based on the structure of the teeth and patella, Böhme says that the new species was an adept climber and had a diet comprising soft foods “that may have also included a significant fibrous component”, such as leaves.
  • These features suggest that Buronius had a distinct lifestyle from Danuvius, which had a diet of tougher foods.
  • It’s likely that these differences in food choices allowed the two species to share a habitat without competing for resources, in the same way modern gibbons and orangutans share habitats in Borneo and Sumatra,” Böhme explains. This is the first known example of a European Miocene fossil site with multiple ancient ape species.


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