Named By: Pilgrim - 1910.
Synonyms: Ankarapithecus, Palaeopithecus sivalensis, Ramapithecus.
Classification: Chordata, Mammalia, Primates, Hominidae, Ponginae.
Species: S. indicus (type), S. meteai, S. parvada, S. punjabicus, S. sivalensis. *Note - There is occasional differences in the number of species mentioned between sources.
Size: 1.5 meters tall when bipedal.
Known locations: China, India, Nepal, Pakistan & Turkey.
Time period: Serravallian to Messinian of the Miocene.
Fossil representation: Partial, fragmented remains of numerous individuals.
best known from the Sivalik Hills, Sivapithecus
seems to have had a
much broader geographical distribution. This is in part down to
fossils of other genera such as Ankarapithecus and Palaeopithecus
reassigned to Sivapithecus. One genus in
Ramapithecus was previously heralded as an ancestor
of humans, but as
more and more fossils were found it became clear to
palaeontologists, anthropologists and primatologists that it was
almost identical to Sivapithecus. The only real
the remains is that fossils originally assigned as Ramapithecus
smaller, possibly because of sexual dimorphism with them being
females, although ideas it being a smaller species of Sivapithecus
have also been considered.
Despite the history associated with Ramapithecus that is now widely considered a synonym to this genus, Sivapithecus was not an ancestor of modern humans. Instead it’s more likely that Sivapithecus was an ancestor to the orangutan, although some parts if the body appear to be more chimpanzee-like. The body proportions and particularly the form of the wrists lend string support to the idea that Sivapithecus spent a greater amount of time on the ground than in the trees. Despite this, skull remains and subsequent reconstructions based upon these have revealed that Sivapithecus was much more orangutan-like in its facial appearance. There is also a real possibility that aside from being an ancestor to modern orangutans, Sivapithecus was also related to the giant ape Gigantopithecus, the larger species of which were easily double the size of Sivapithecus.
Like with Gigantopithecus, Sivapithecus is thought to have primarily eaten tough vegetation some that is evidenced by the large molar and canine teeth. However there is also some fossil evidence that Sivapithecus would also take fruits, so it’s probable that exact diet may have depended upon what was both annually and seasonally available in the ecosystem.