Named By: Lartet - 1856.
Synonyms: Indopithecus, possibly also Rangwapithecus and Rudapithecus.
Classification: Chordata, Mammalia, Primates, Hominoidea, Hominidae.
Species: D. fontani (type), D. brancoi, D. crusafonti, D. laietanus, D. mogharensis, D. wuduensis.
Size: Body length 60 centimetres.
Known locations: Eurasia & East Africa.
Time period: Throughout the Miocene.
Fossil representation: Many specimens.
Dryopithecus is known to have had a broad geographic
is particularly well known from European countries such as France,
Spain and Hungary. Dryopithecus is often
associated with the
however study of Dryopithecus fossils
indicate that it was actually very different in life. The main
difference between these two genera are the teeth with those
Dryopithecus having proportionately thinner enamel,
suggests that Dryopithecus ate mainly soft
vegetation such as fruits.
This has led to suggestion that Dryopithecus may
have been more a
dedicated frugivore, a specialist herbivore that eats mainly fruit
rather than other plant parts such as leaves and stems.
Dryopithecus is thought to have spent much of its time living in the tree canopy where it moved about by swinging from branch to branch, a form of locomotion called brachiation. When walking however, Dryopithecus is thought to have walked in a quadrupedal posture similar to that of a chimpanzee, but instead of walking on its knuckles it is thought that it walked upon the flats of its hands due to morphological differences in the limbs and wrists between Dryopithecus and chimpanzees.
Another primate that is sometimes considered to be similar to Dryopithecus is Oreopithecus.