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Pliopithecus vindobonensis


TAXONOMY:

This species was once thought to be a direct ancestor of the gibbons, but now it is thought that perhaps it is related to the catarrhines from the Fayum deposit in Egypt thus making it a primitive catarrhine (Fleagle, 1988).

MORPHOLOGY:
Pliopithecus vindobonensis had a dental formula of 2:1:2:3 on both the upper and lower jaws (Fleagle, 1988). This species has broad central incisors and tall narrow lower incisors (Fleagle, 1988). The canines show sexual dimorphism with the canines of males being daggerlike (Fleagle, 1988). The lower anterior premolar also shows some degree of sexual dimorphism with males having narrow and sectorial premolars and females having broad premolars (Fleagle, 1988). The upper molars of this species are broad with a large lingual cingulum and the lower cheek teeth have a long and narrow occlusal surface and a prominent buccal cingulum (Fleagle, 1988). All of the teeth of this species have high shearing crests (Fleagle, 1988). The snout is short and narrow and the interorbital region is broad with the orbits being large and circular (Fleagle, 1988). The mandible of is shallow with a broad ascending ramus (Fleagle, 1988). This species may have had a relatively large brain based on the frontal bone being high and rounded (Fleagle, 1988). Some specimens of this species have a sagittal crest (Fleagle, 1988). The auditory region of this species is primitive like that in Aegyptopithecus, the ectotympanic tube is incomplete (Fleagle, 1988). Pliopithecus vindobonensis has an entepicondylar foramen on the humerus, a long ulnar styloid process, and a prehallux bone in the foot (Fleagle, 1988). This species had an average body mass of around 7.0 kilograms (Fleagle, 1988).

RANGE:
Pliopithecus vindobonensis lived on the continent of Europe, and was found in the country of the Czech Republic (Fleagle, 1988). This species occurred during the middle to late Miocene (Fleagle, 1988).

DIET:
Based upon the dental morphology, the high shearing crests of the teeth, this was a folivorous species (Fleagle, 1988).

LOCOMOTION:
Based upon the postcranial remains this was more than likely an arboreal quadruped which also practiced brachiation (Fleagle, 1988).

REFERENCES:
Fleagle, J.G. 1988. Primate Adaptation and Evolution. Academic Press: New York.

Last updated: November 16, 2001

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