Know Your Primate: Pliopithecus vindobonensis

Order: Primates
Infraorder: Catarrhini
(Superfamily: Propliopithecoidea ?)
Family: Pliopithecidae
Genus: Pliopithecus
Species: Pliopithecus vindobonensis
The genus Pliopithecus contains at least four – maybe more – species. They have been considered ancestral gibbons and late members of the catarrhine radiation. Pliopithecus is found mainly in Europe and fossils date to 16-12 MYA.

Pliopithecus%201.jpgFrom Conroy
Pliopithecus has a short narrow snout, braod interorbital region, large circular orbits, high frontal, and strong temporal lines that converge to a sagittal crest in some specimens. The tympanmic forms a ring on the bulla but not a complete tube. The teeth of Pliopithecus indicate it was folivorous (high shearing crests on the molars, etc.) The jaw has an inferior transverse torus. The picture below is the palate – note the slight tooth row divergence similar to that seen in Dryopithecus.
Here is the mandible:
Postcranially, Pliopithecus has been compared to howler monkeys and woolly monkeys. The hindlimbs are somewhat longer than the forelimbs, the humerus has an entepicondylar foramen, the ulna articulates directly with the wrist (in apes there is a meniscus separating the two). Additionally, Pliopithecus may have had a tail.

2 Responses

  1. Heh. I never comment on blogs, but just had to this time to say–Hey! Pliopithecus! I did some graduate research on the family. Or superfamily, depending on who you talk to….
    Extremely diverse group of anthropoid primates, lived all over Eurasia, and now completely and utterly gone.
    Neat. Thanks. 🙂

  2. Or superfamily, depending on who you talk to…

    Yup, that’s why I put it in parenthesis with a question mark.

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