Heliopithecus

Name: Heliopithecus ‭(‬Sun ape‭)‬.
Phonetic: Hel-e-o-pf-e-cus.
Named By: Andrews and Martin‭ ‬-‭ ‬1987.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Mammalia,‭ ‬Primates,‭ ‬Hominoidea,‭ ‬Proconsulidae.
Species: H.‭ ‬leakeyi‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Herbivore.
Size: Unavailable.
Known locations: Saudi Arabia.
Time period: Burdigalian of the Miocene.
Fossil representation: Partial left maxilla‭ (‬upper jaw‭) ‬and four teeth.

       Although only known from very little fossil material,‭ ‬Heliopithecus has been identified as‭ ‬a‭ ‬proconsulid,‭ ‬primates that are similar to the much better known Proconsul in form.‭ ‬There has however been speculation that Heliopithecus may actually be a synonym to either Afropithecus or Morotopithecus,‭ ‬although analysis of the teeth of Heliopithecus leads most researchers to currently stick with keeping Heliopithecus a separate genus.
       Heliopithecus is known to have teeth which are low crowned and have thick enamel.‭ ‬This indicates that Heliopithecus ate tough vegetation that required extensive grinding from the teeth.‭ ‬This also raises the possibility that Heliopithecus is either ancestral or closely related to the direct ancestors of the great apes which have similar teeth.



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