Anthropology Answer Writing Practice 2018 - Week 2 - Question 6

90 Days Anthropology Answer Writing Practice Question 2 for 23-Nov-2018

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23-Nov-2018 - Question 2

Short note on Sivapithecus. 10 marks. 150 words.

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Model Answer

Meaning of name : Sivapithecus means ape of sivalik hills, from where its first fossils were found. Lewis in 1934 found some broken teeth and broken jaws from Haritalyanagar village in Bilaspur distt of Himachal Pradesh.

Time span : 13 to 8 million years ago (mya).

Species : Sivapithecus punjabicus (from india), 

                S. wickeri (from africa), 

                S. brevirostris (from china).

Evolutionary tree : The older name was ramapithecus. Due to its similarities with Dryopithecus sivalenis w.r.t. U shaped dental arcade, both were clubbed into single genus i.e. Sivapithecus. Upto 1980s, it was believed that ramapithecus was first hominid and apes and man have diverged 18-16 mya i.e. between dryopithecus and ramapithecus. Subsequently, with molecular biological studies it was discovered that apes and man diverged 8-6 mya. Scientist believe Sivapithecus to be ancestor of orangutan.

Geographic distribution: Fossils of Sivapithecus are found across India, China and Africa. India (skulls, long bones etc), China ( 5 complete skulls, 6 broken skulls, mandibles and maxilla, teeth).

Physical features : Sivapithecus were similar to modern apes. Dental arcade was U shaped but dentition resembled superficially to human. Forelimbs had sufficient mobility and he could swing on his arms.Where modern apes have large, broad chests, Sivapithecus is believed to have had a relatively narrow, monkey-like torso, but facial features that closely resemble modern orangutans. There is still a confusion regarding which ape first exhibited bipedalism, erect posture.

Habitation : Sivapithecus lived mostly on ground, at forest fringe. This gave them double benefit of food i.e. from ground as well forests.

What Sivapithecus may ultimately demonstrate is that evolution doesn’t occur in a straight line, but happens as a mosaic across many species.

To fully understand where Sivapithecus belongs in the evolutionary tree of apes, more fossils must be found, and additional research must be conducted.

Add on.

Scientists have labelled two fossilised teeth from nine million years ago recovered from India's Sivalik hills as fresh evidence for an extinct primate named Krishnapithecus first proposed in 1979. Scientists believe krishnapithecus was contemporary to Sivapithecus and Indopithecus, two extinct apes that had lived in the northern Indian subcontinent between 12 million and six million years ago.

In a paper published in the Journal of Human Evolution (2017), the scientists have said the molars suggest that Krishnapithecus "was perhaps the largest known pliopithecoid" and it was "sufficiently distinct" from other pliopithecoids to be classified as a separate family.

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