A chemical paper published in the British journal Nature has reported a fossil of a previously unknown ape found in Germany. The ape, which lived about 11.6 million years ago in the Middle Genesis, provides new clues about what it was before it became a bipedal. Scientists have come up with a number of ideas to explain the origins of ancient human bipedal walking and ape-like hanging movement, but fossil evidence has been lacking.
For example, there is a view that ancient human bipedal walking originated from a quadptered animal that would have feet on the ground, similar to an existing monkey, or from a quadphered animal that was more inclined to hang its movements – most similar to an existing chimpanzee.
This time, Madeleine Bohm, a researcher at the University of Tibingen in Germany, and colleagues described a new ape called Danuvius guggenmosi, whose fossilized limb bones are preserved intact.
The team believes the fossil sample semmaritans prove a new type of physical behavior, which they call “extended limb climbing.” The ape should be able to hang from a branch with the help of its upper limbs.
However, the researchers note that they are different from other apes, such as gibbons or orangutans, in that their hind limbs can be straightened for upright walking, which does not use their hind limbs as much as they use their forelimbs. The ape also has a big toe that can be grasped, meaning it walks with its feet.
The discovery of the Danuvius guggenmosi fossil reveals how apes began to walk with their hind limbs before reaching the ground, the researchers concluded.