A cautionary tale for picky eaters.
So, you’re a giant ape – the biggest ape to ever grace the planet – but does that mean you get to shun your vegetables? No way. At least not for Gigantopithecus, the “King Kong” of Asia who roamed southern China and mainland southeast Asia up to 100,000 years ago.
New research reveals that this granddaddy of apes, weighing in at five times more than an adult male and reaching an impressive nine feet in height, failed to survive when climate change switched the menu from forest fruit to savannah grass.Marlowe Hood for AFP.
“Due to its size, Gigantopithecus presumably depended on a large amount of food,” Bocherens said. “When during the Pleistocene, more and more forested area turned into savannah landscapes, there was simply an insufficient food supply.”
The study notes that other apes and early humans in Africa who had like-minded teeth were able to adapt by eating the leaves, grass and roots that took the place of their former meals. But not the big guys.
“Gigantopithecus probably did not have the same ecological flexibility and possibly lacked the physiological ability to resist stress and food shortage,” notes the study.
Unless, of course, Gigantopithecus secretly did survive. In "Big Footprints: A Scientific Inquiry into the Reality of Sasquatch," Bigfoot hunter Grover Krantz, suggests that a few thousand Gigantopithecus cheated extinction by migrating from Asia over the Bering straits … thus, giving us Bigfoot. So maybe eating your greens isn’t so important afterall.