New species of extinct ape discovered in tomb of ancient Chinese noblewoman

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New species of extinct ape discovered in tomb of ancient Chinese noblewoman Empty New species of extinct ape discovered in tomb of ancient Chinese noblewoman

Post by phildidge on Sat Nov 24, 2018 11:45 am

Gibbon likely belonged to Lady Xia, grandmother of China's first emperor, but its species appears to have been driven to extinction by deforestation

A new species of ape has been discovered buried alongside a member of an ancient Chinese royal family. The bones of the long-extinct variety of gibbon were unearthed in a “grave menagerie” from a 2200-year-old tomb in the ancient capital city of Chang’an. During this period of China’s history, gibbons were considered “noble” animals and were often kept as pets. The ancient grave also contained the skeletons of leopards, lynx, bears, cranes and domestic animals.

The creatures interred in the tomb are thought to have belonged to Lady Xia, grandmother of the nation’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang.

Naming their find Junzi imperialis, the scientists said the discovery is particularly noteworthy given the total lack of gibbons in the region today.

Dr Samuel Turvey, a conservation biologist at the Zoological Society of London who made the discovery, told Science magazine that accounts of gibbons in central China are confined to the history books.

“It is very, very far from any gibbon populations today,” he said.

Dr Turvey came across the gibbon remains, which were first unearthed in 2004, while visiting the Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology in Xi’an.


https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/junzi-imperialis-ape-extinct-gibbon-china-ancient-tomb-xian-changan-a8410671.html

phildidge

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