Named By: Andrews and Martin - 1987.
Classification: Chordata, Mammalia, Primates, Hominoidea, Proconsulidae.
Species: H. leakeyi (type).
Known locations: Saudi Arabia.
Time period: Burdigalian of the Miocene.
Fossil representation: Partial left maxilla (upper jaw) and four teeth.
only known from very little fossil material, Heliopithecus
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
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.