Research Article

Miocene small-bodied ape from Eurasia sheds light on hominoid evolution

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Science  30 Oct 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6260, aab2625
DOI: 10.1126/science.aab2625
  • Cranial reconstruction and life appearance.

    Artist’s representation of the cranial reconstruction (in frontal view) and of the life appearance (in lateral oblique view) of the new genus of small-bodied ape from the Iberian Miocene. [Artwork by M. Palmero]

  • Fig. 1 Cranium and dentition.

    (A to C) Cranium of the holotype (IPS58443) of Pliobates cataloniae gen. et sp. nov. The main cranial fragments, including the basicranium and the right palate, are shown in basal view (A); details of the right palatal fragment are shown in left-lateral (B) and right-lateral (C) views. (D) Detail of the right postcanine teeth, in occlusal view (mesial is to the right).

  • Fig. 2 Results of the dental microwear analyses.

    (A) Pitting incidence (%) of Pliobates, the extant comparative sample, and pliopithecoids and extinct hominoids from Europe and Turkey. (B) Bivariate plot of striation breadth versus pitting incidence. (C) Bivariate plot of the first two canonical axes delivered by the canonical variates analysis, based on three distinct, broad dietary groups: folivores, mixed feeders and frugivores, and hard-object feeders. Colored polygons in (B) and ellipses in (C) illustrate the variability of extant dietary categories. Small black symbols denote the comparative sample of extant anthropoids, whereas large black symbols represent the centroids of each dietary category. Different symbols are employed to distinguish the various extinct species; results for Iberian hominoids and pliopithecoids are shown in red and blue, respectively, whereas those from other localities are shown in yellow and green, respectively.

  • Fig. 3 Cranial reconstruction.

    Virtual reconstruction of the holotype (IPS58443) cranium of Pliobates cataloniae gen. et sp. nov., including mirrored fragments, in frontal (A), lateral (B), posterior (C), basal (D), and superior (E) views. Further details are given in fig. S3 and the methods in the text.

  • Fig. 4 Basicranial morphology.

    (A) Drawing of the left basicranium of the holotype (IPS58443) of Pliobates cataloniae gen. et sp. nov., as preserved in ventral view. The jugular foramen appears artifactually larger because of the displacement of the temporal and occipital portions along the occipitotemporal suture (corrected in the reconstruction in Fig. 3). The course of the carotid canal is shown with a dashed line, based on CT images. AE, articular eminence; CAF, carotid foramen; COF, condylar fossa; EA, Eustachian aperture; EAM, external auditory meatus; EP, Eustachian process; ET, ectotympanic; FM, foramen magnum; FO, foramen ovale; GF, glenoid fossa; JF, jugular foramen; OC, occipital condyle; OTS, occipitotemporal suture; PGP, postglenoid process. (B to D) Drawings of comparable views (not to scale) in Hylobates sp. (B), Proconsul heseloni KNM RU 2036 [(C), reversed], and Victoriapithecus macinnesi KNM MB 29100a (D) (KNM, Kenyon National Museums; RU, Rusinga; MB, Maboko). Arrows denote the V-shaped, incompletely ossified ventral terminal tip of the tubular ectotympanic in the extinct taxa. [Artwork by M. Palmero]

  • Fig. 5 Forelimb long bones.

    Shown are the humerus, radius, and ulna of the holotype (IPS58443) of Pliobates cataloniae gen. et sp. nov. (A to E) Partial left humerus in medial (A), posterior (B), lateral (C), anterior (D), and distal (E) views. (F to K) Left radius in medial (F), posterior (G), lateral (H), anterior (I), proximal (J), and distal (K) views. (L to O) Proximal half of the left ulna in medial (L), posterior (M), lateral (N), and anterior (O) views. (P to T) Distal fragment of the left ulna in medial (P), posterior (Q), lateral (R), anterior (S), and distal (T) views.

  • Fig. 6 Elbow and wrist morphology.

    The most diagnostic features of the elbow and wrist joints of Pliobates cataloniae gen. et sp. nov. (IPS58443), denoted by arrows in drawings of the distal humerus, proximal radius, and distal ulna, are shown with those of selected extant and extinct anthropoids for comparison. (A to D) Anterior (top) and distal (bottom) views of the distal humerus in P. cataloniae (A), Epipliopithecus vindobonensis Individual I [(B), reversed], Dendropithecus? sp. KNM MO 17022A (C) (MO, Moruorot), and Hylobates moloch (D). (E to H) Views perpendicular to the radial tuberosity (top) and proximal view (bottom) of the proximal radius in P. cataloniae (E), E. vindobonensis Individual I (F), Simiolus enjiessi KNM MO 63 [(G), reversed)], and H. moloch (H). (I to M) Medial (top) and distal (bottom) views of the distal ulna in P. cataloniae (I), E. vindobonensis Individual I (J), H. moloch (K), Ateles paniscus (L), and Cercopithecus aethiops (M). 1, absence of entepicondylar foramen; 2, absence of capitular tail; 3, lack of spool-shaped trochlea; 4, well-developed beveled surface for the zona conoidea; 5, small and flat area in the radial head; 6, ulnar fovea; 7, two-faceted, expanded semilunar articular surface in the ulnar head. Specimens are shown as if from the left side and are not to scale. [Artwork by M. Palmero]

  • Fig. 7 Carpal bones.

    Line drawings of carpal bones in Pliobates cataloniae gen. et sp. nov. (IPS58443) are shown with those of selected anthropoid genera for comparison. (A to E) Left capitate, in radial (top) and proximal (bottom) views, of Cercopithecus aethiops (A), Ateles paniscus (B), Pierolapithecus catalaunicus (C), Hylobates lar (D), and P. cataloniae (E); gray shading denotes articular areas for the second metacarpals, and cross-hatching denotes those for the third metacarpal. (F to J) Left hamate, in radial (top) and ulnar (bottom) views, of C. aethiops (F), A. paniscus (G), Pi. catalaunicus (H), H. lar (I), and P. cataloniae (J). (K to O) Left triquetrum, in proximomedial (top) and distal (bottom) views, of C. aethiops (K), A. paniscus (L), Pi. catalaunicus (M), H. lar (N), and P. cataloniae (O). Drawings are not to scale.

  • Fig. 8 Results of the cladistic analysis.

    Single most-parsimonious tree of 645 steps, based on a taxon-character data matrix of 319 characters and 20 taxa (tables S5 and S6). Consistency index = 0.5912 (excluding uninformative characters); retention index = 0.6897; Rescaled consistency index = 0.4213. Numbers below nodes are Bremer indices, and numbers above nodes are bootstrap support percentages (only shown when ≥50%). Node numbers refer to clades in the list of apomorphies in table S15.

  • Table 1 Dental measurements.

    Standard dental measurements to assess dental size and proportions were taken to the nearest 0.1 mm in the holotype (IPS58443) of Pliobates cataloniae gen. et sp. nov. MD, mesiodistal length (in millimeters); BL, buccolingual width (in millimeters); BLI, breadth/length index (in percent), computed as BL/MD × 100. Dashes indicate lack of data due to incomplete preservation.

    Catalog no.ToothSideMDBLBLI
    IPS58443.1P3Right>2.8>4.5
    IPS58443.1P4Right3.25.3165.6
    IPS58443.1M1Right5.05.9118.0
    IPS58443.1M2Right5.36.5122.6
    IPS58443.1M3Right4.66.4139.1
    IPS58443.2M2Left>5.0
    IPS58443.2M3Left4.56.7148.9

Supplementary Materials

  • Miocene small-bodied ape from Eurasia sheds light on hominoid evolution

    David M. Alba, Sergio Almécija, Daniel DeMiguel, Josep Fortuny, Miriam Pérez de los Ríos, Marta Pina, Josep M. Robles, Salvador Moyà-Solà

    Materials/Methods, Supplementary Text, Tables, Figures, and/or References

    Download Supplement
    • Figs. S1 to S7
    • Tables S1 to S15
    • Full Reference List
    • Captions for Movie S1

    Images, Video, and Other Other Media

    Movie S1
    3D reconstruction of the cranium. Virtual 3D reconstruction of the cranium of Pliobates cataloniae gen. et sp. nov. based on both original and mirrored material (Fig. 3; fig. S3; see methods for further details), with a recreation of its life appearance by M. Palmero at the end.

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