Research explains survival of last Miocene hominoids

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Beijing, Feb 16 (IANS) Chinese scientists have revealed how the last hominoids in the Euroasia continent survived during the Miocene period (23 to 5.33 million years ago).

A fossil anthropoid discovered in 2009 in Zhaotong city, China’s Yunnan province, is believed to be the last hominoid to survive the Miocene in the Euroasia continent, Xinhua reported.

After carrying out sedimentary, clay mineralogy and geochemical experiments on the fossil, the scientists found the elevation of the Tibetan plateau combined with the Asian monsoon and global cooling formed relatively independent warm and humid conditions in Yunnan, thus offering a refuge for the Miocene hominoids.

The population of hominoids, once widely scattered in the Euroasia and Africa between 17 million and 15 million years ago, sharply decreased in the late Miocene period.

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The findings, co-researched by the Institute of Geology and Geophysics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and Yunnan Archaeology Institute, were published on Monday in Scientific Reports, an affiliated magazine of Nature.

“It provides a unique approach for the research on evolution and extinction of the hominoids,” said Zhang Chunxia, a chief scientist with the research and an assistant researcher from the CAS.

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