, Volume 56, Issue 33, pp 3590-3595,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 12 Sep 2011

Enamel carbon isotope evidence of diet and habitat of Gigantopithecus blacki and associated mammalian megafauna in the Early Pleistocene of South China


Enamel stable carbon isotope analyses were conducted on the large fossil ape Gigantopithecus blacki and an associated mammalian megafauna from Longgudong Cave in Jianshi and Juyuandong Cave in Liucheng, South China. The range in δ 13C values (−18.8‰ to −14.1‰) indicates that G. blacki and other large mammals fed on solely C3 biomass, and lived in forest habitats, and not open country or savannas. These results are consistent with other faunal and floral analyses for that time. The diet and habitat of G. blacki were significantly different from those of early hominins (Australopithecus and Paranthropus) from South and East Africa. Extinction of G. blacki probably was a result of forest habitat fragmentation and deterioration.