Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Conversation I had with Jeff Meldrum on Facebook

Hey, Jeff. How are you? I hope well. I had a question-Ivan Sanderson wrote in his book that he believed that Gigantopithecus was actually hominid and not hominoid, a more humanlike entity than apelike. What is your opinion of that statement and do you think he was right anthropologically? Thanks. Take care.
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  • Don Jeffrey Meldrum It had to do largely with enamel thickness. Living apes had relatively thin enamel and humans had relatively thick. It was thought that this simple dichotomy could be applied to interpreting fossils: thin enamel = ape ancestor; thick enamel = human ancestor. Gigantopithecus had very thick enamel pointing to a hominid association. Now it is clear that such a simplistic dichotomy does not recognize the complexity of the distribution of characters, including enamel thickness. Most anthropologists now conclude that Gigatopithecus was a branch on the sivapithecine ape radiation.
  • Henry May Thanks, Jeff!!!

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