Acta Anthropologica Sinica ›› 2021, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (03): 490-502.doi: 10.16359/j.1000-3193/AAS.2021.0013

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Artiodactyla assemblages associated with Gigantopithecus blacki in China

DONG Wei1,2(), BAI Weipeng1,2,3   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100044
    2. CAS Center for Excellence in Life and Paleoenvironment, Beijing 100044
    3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
  • Received:2020-10-13 Revised:2020-11-27 Online:2021-06-15 Published:2021-06-24


The first Gigantopithecus locality with precise geographic location and stratigraphic horizon in China was discovered in 1956 at the Black Cave (Dark Cave) in Daxin County, Guangxi. A series of such localities were uncovered successively since then, such as Liucheng and Wuming in Guangxi, Jianshi in Hubei, Bama in Guangxi, Wushan in Chongqing, Tiandong and Chongzuo in Guangxi, Bijie in Guizhou, Changjiang in Hainan. There are two localities in Tiandong, Mohui and Chuifeng Caves, a group of localities in Chongzhou, such as Sanhe, Boyue, Queque, Baikong, Yanliang and Hejiang Caves. All localities are situated south of the Yangtze River, range from 31°N to 19°N, from 105°E to 110°E. Among the mammalian faunas associated with Gigantopithecus, artiodactyls figure a large portion of fauna composition and total 30 taxa. They can be included into 5 families. The representative species are Hippopotamodon ultimus, Sus xiaozhu, S. peii, Muntiacus sp., Cervavitus fenqii, Cervus (Rusa) and Megalovis guangxiensis. The genera survived from the Neogene include Hippopotamodon, Sus, Dorcabune, Moschus, Muntiacus, Paracervulus, Metacervulus, Cervavitus, Gazella and Spirocerus. 17 species appeared in the Early Pleistocene, and 10 of them didn’t survive into the Middle Pleistocene. The genera appeared in the Early Pleistocene total 7, all belong to bovids. The bovids associated with Gigantopithecus indicate some grasslands and open lands among forest dominated environment, while the rest artiodactyls indicate broadleaf forests and shrub environments. The suids, sambar and buffalo imply the presence of scattered water areas. The omnivorous Gigantopithecus share a partial food chain with suids and should have certain food competition. Gigantopithecus share hardly food chain with such grazers as bovids, but share a small part of the chain with browsers such as tragulids, moschids and cervids. All artiodactyls are prey of carnivores that they share most of the risk of predation for Gigantopithecus. The associated artiodactyls were therefore favorable for the habitation and development of Gigantopithecus.

Key words: Gigantopithecus, artiodactyls, paleoecology, Pleistocene, South China

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