Hadropithecus

Name: Hadropithecus ‭(‬Stout ape‭)‬.
Phonetic: Had-roe-pif-e-kus.
Named By: Ludwig Lorenz von Liburnau‭ ‬-‭ ‬1899.
Synonyms: Pithecodon sikorae.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Mammalia,‭ ‬Primates,‭ ‬Strepsirrhini,‭ ‬Lemuriformes,‭ ‬Archaeolemuridae.
Species: H.‭ ‬stenognathus‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Herbivore.
Size: Uncertain due to‭ ‬lack of remains,‭ ‬but weight estimates range between‭ ‬27‭ ‬and‭ ‬35‭ ‬kilograms.
Known locations: Madagascar.
Time period: Holocene up until about‭ ‬444‭ ‬-‭ ‬772‭ ‬CE.
Fossil representation: Sub fossils of the skull,‭ ‬jaw and some post cranial remains.

       One of the monkey lemurs from Madagascar,‭ ‬Hadropithecus is often described as being similar to its relative Archaeolemur in behaviour and lifestyle.‭ ‬Hadropithecus was a powerfully built lemur that seems to have been best adapted to a cursorial life on the ground.‭ ‬Lemurs as we know them today usually have long arms and hands for reaching out and grasping around tree branches,‭ ‬but the arms and hands of Hadropithecus were proportionately much shorter than these arboreal forms.‭ ‬These shorter limbs would have been more efficient for ground locomotion,‭ ‬but they may have meant that Hadropithecus spent most if not all of its time on the ground.‭ ‬On the ground,‭ ‬Hadropithecus would have been able to scavenge seeds that had fallen from higher growing plant.‭ ‬These seeds would have likely been covered in tough husks to protect them,‭ ‬but this does not seem to have been a problem for Hadropithecus since the robust teeth would have easily sheared through the husks to reveal the highly nutritious contents.‭ ‬Hadropithecus has also been considered to have been a grazer,‭ ‬but a‭ ‬2008‭ ‬study by Ryan et al suggests a greater reliance upon eating hard foods like seeds.
       The dental formula of Hadropithecus reads as‭ ‬2.1.3.3‭ ‬for the upper jaw and‭ ‬1.1.3.3‭ ‬for the lower jaw.‭ ‬For anyone who is not familiar with how to read a dental formula,‭ ‬the numbers correspond to the numbers of specific kinds of teeth in one half of the jaw.‭ ‬The first number is for incisors,‭ ‬the second for canines,‭ ‬third for premolars and fourth for molars.‭ ‬So with this in mind Hadropithecus had two incisors,‭ ‬one‭ ‬canine,‭ ‬three premolars and three molars in one half of the upper jaw,‭ ‬and one incisor,‭ ‬one canine,‭ ‬three premolars and three molars in the one half of the lower jaw.‭ ‬To find the total number of teeth in the mouth of Hadropithecus you just have to add up these two formulas and then multiply the result by two.‭ ‬This means that one half of the upper jaw had nine teeth,‭ ‬one half of the lower jaw had eight teeth and these combine to make seventeen teeth.‭ ‬You then multiply this figure by two,‭ ‬which is akin to adding the second halves of the upper and lower jaws to give you a total of thirty four teeth in the mouth.‭ ‬This example explains Hadropithecus,‭ ‬but it’s worthwhile knowing how to read dental formulas since they form a very big part in the study of prehistoric mammals.
       Like with much of the Madagascan fauna of the Holocene,‭ ‬and particularly ground lemurs,‭ ‬Hadropithecus seems to have gone extinct not long after the first humans colonised Madagascar.‭ ‬Aside from competition from new animals being introduced to the land,‭ ‬habitat loss caused by humans would have also contributed to the demise of lemurs like Hadropithecus.

Further reading
-‭ ‬A reconstruction of the Vienna skull of Hadropithecus stenognathus,‭ ‬T.‭ ‬M.‭ ‬Ryan,‭ ‬D.‭ ‬A.‭ ‬Burney,‭ ‬L.‭ ‬R.‭ ‬Godfrey,‭ ‬U.‭ ‬B.‭ ‬Gohlich,‭ ‬W.‭ ‬L.‭ ‬Jungers,‭ ‬N.‭ ‬Vasey,‭ ‬Ramilisonina,‭ ‬A.‭ ‬Walker‭ & ‬G.‭ ‬W.‭ ‬Weber‭ ‬-‭ ‬2008.

-‭ ‬New discoveries of skeletal elements of Hadropithecus stenognathus from Andrahomana Cave,‭ ‬southeastern Madagascar,‭ ‬L.‭ ‬R.‭ ‬Godfrey,‭ ‬W.‭ ‬L.‭ ‬Jungers,‭ ‬D.‭ ‬A.‭ ‬Burney,‭ ‬N.‭ ‬Vasey,‭ ‬Ramilisonina,‭ ‬W.‭ ‬Wheeler,‭ ‬P.‭ ‬Lemelin,‭ ‬L.‭ ‬J.‭ ‬Shapiro,‭ ‬G.‭ ‬T.‭ ‬Schwatrz,‭ ‬S.‭ ‬J.‭ ‬King,‭ ‬M.‭ ‬F.‭ ‬Ramarolahy,‭ ‬L.‭ ‬L.‭ ‬Raharivony‭ & ‬G.‭ ‬F.‭ ‬N.‭ ‬Randria‭ ‬-‭ ‬2006.



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