July 18, 2024 The sun rises from Anatolia

Scientists have discovered the smallest previously unknown monkey species in a clay quarry

An international research team has discovered the smallest previously unknown species of monkey during excavations in a clay quarry in Allgäu.

The monkey was named Buronius manfredschmidi.

Buronius manfredschmidi was found in the immediate vicinity of the great ape Danuvius guggenmosi “Udo” previously found in the same clay quarry. Danuvius was recorded as a species of ape that switched to upright walking about 12 million years ago.

Professor Madelaine Böhme and her team from the Senckenberg Center for Human Evolution and Paleoenvironment at the University of Tübingen, along with Professor David Began from the University of Toronto (Canada) and other scientists, published the findings of the study in the journal PlosOne on June 7.

“The depositional conditions allow the conclusion that both great apes colonized the same ecosystem at the same time,” said Thomas Lechner, a member of the study team and the excavation director, who examined the fossils of two teeth and a kneecap belonging to Buronius.

The size of the fossils suggests that Burunius weighed only 10 kilograms. He was therefore significantly smaller than all living apes, ranging from 30 kilograms (bonobo) to 200 kilograms (gorilla), and also smaller than Danuvius, which weighed between 15 and 46 kilograms. Buronius’ body weight is comparable to siamangs, relatives of monkeys from Southeast Asia.

Buronius’ original tooth is only 7.7 millimeters in size and yet it provides profound insights into the way of life around 12 million years ago. Photo: University of Tubingen

“Buronius’ kneecap is thicker and asymmetrical than Danuvius’,” Böhme adds. This can be explained by differences in the thigh muscles. Buronius may have been better adapted to climbing trees.

The tooth enamel of both great apes provided insight into their lifestyles. In primates, the thickness of tooth enamel is closely linked to their diet. Very thin enamel, for example in gorillas, indicates a vegetarian diet rich in fiber. A thick tooth enamel, as in humans, is indicative of an omnivore with a diet of hard and tough foods and high bite forces.

“Buronius’ enamel thickness is lower than that of other great apes in Europe and comparable to gorillas. On the other hand, the tooth enamel of Danuvius is thicker than that of any extinct species and almost reaches the strength of human tooth enamel,” says Böhme. The different enamel thickness corresponds to the shape of the chewing surfaces. The enamel is smoother in Buronius and has stronger cutting edges; that of Danuvius is notched and has blunt tooth ridges. “This suggests that Buronius was a leaf eater and Danuvius was an omnivore.”

The left kneecap of Buronius manfredschmidi in three views (A – from the front, B – from the back and C – from below). The scale bar corresponds to 10 millimeters. Photo: University of Tubingen

If two species live in the same habitat (so-called syntopia), they need to resort to different resources to avoid competition. The context in which the Hammerschmiede fossils were found proves syntopia in monkeys for the first time in Europe. Bourunius, which ate small leaves, may have stayed longer in treetops and branches, the authors say. On the other hand, Danuvius, which was more than twice as large and capable of bipedalism, probably roamed over a wider area to find more diverse food sources. This can be compared to today’s syntopia of monkeys and orangutans in Borneo and Sumatra: Orangutans roam in search of food, while small fruit-eating monkeys stay in the treetops.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0301002

Banner
Related Articles

Tide reveals a Bronze Age fort on the Irish island of Clew Bay

April 1, 2024

April 1, 2024

A sunken Bronze Age fort has been discovered on the island of Clew Bay off the coast of North Mayo,...

A 7000-year-old Neolithic settlement discovered in Serbia

April 30, 2024

April 30, 2024

The ROOTS team discovered a previously unknown Late Neolithic settlement near the Tamiš River in Northeast Serbia. The discovery provides...

British archaeologists find Iranian glass beads in ‘Britain’s Pompeii’

March 27, 2024

March 27, 2024

British archaeologists have discovered Iranian glass beads in a Bronze Age settlement dubbed ‘Britain’s Pompeii’. The so-called Pompeii of Britain...

LDA Archaeologists discover two monumental mounds with wooden burial chambers dating back around 6,000 years

March 16, 2024

March 16, 2024

Archaeologists from the Saxony-Anhalt State Office for Heritage Management and Archaeology (LDA) have discovered two monumental mounds containing wooden burial...

Tutankhamun’s DNA results: Give surprising findings of incest evidence

March 9, 2024

March 9, 2024

Recent DNA tests on the remains of King Tutankhamun have revealed some startling and unexpected results. He tests, which were...

Hungarian archaeologists unearth a 600-year-old silver communion set

June 16, 2024

June 16, 2024

During archaeological excavations near Lake Tisza, experts from the National Institute of Archaeology at the Center for Public Collection of...

Hiking woman finds one of the largest hoards of early medieval coins ever found on Czech soil

May 28, 2024

May 28, 2024

A woman hiking in Kutnohorsk, 50 miles southeast of the Czech capital Prague, found one of the largest hoards of...

World’s largest dinosaur track found in Fujian

May 8, 2024

May 8, 2024

Chinese scientists announced on Monday, May 6, that they had discovered very large tracks of a type of two-toed dinosaur...

Sitting Buddha statue incidentally found in a paddy field

May 2, 2024

May 2, 2024

The seated Buddha statue was discovered by chance in a mound excavated in a paddy field where soil for the...

A well-preserved Bronze Age wooden well unearthed in England

May 9, 2024

May 9, 2024

A well-preserved Bronze Age wooden well was uncovered during construction work on the Benson Relief Road in Oxfordshire, England. The...

American archaeologists discover 13,000-year-old beads at La Prele Mammoth Site

March 9, 2024

March 9, 2024

Archaeologists have made an important discovery at the La Prele Mammoth site in Converse County, Wyoming in the United States....

The upper part of a giant statue of Ramses II, one of the greatest pharaohs of Egypt, has been unearthed

March 5, 2024

March 5, 2024

The upper part of a colossal statue of Ramses II, also known as the Great Ramses, was discovered during excavations...

Archaeologists discover 2,000-year-old studded Roman military sandal in Germany

June 25, 2024

June 25, 2024

Archaeologists have discovered the remains of a 2,000-year-old studded Roman military sandal near an auxiliary Roman camp in Germany. Archaeologists...

Oldest biblical manuscript of Jesus’ childhood discovered in Germany

June 15, 2024

June 15, 2024

Researchers in Germany have identified a newly deciphered manuscript dating back 1,600 years as the oldest record of the childhood...

Magnet fisherman pulls out a sturdy Viking sword from the River Cherwell

March 10, 2024

March 10, 2024

Magnet fisherman Trevor Penny pulled a intact Viking sword from the River Cherwell in West Oxfordshire last November. Magnet fishing,...

Comments
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *