Chinese Science Bulletin

, Volume 56, Issue 33, pp 3590–3595 | Cite as

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

  • LingXia ZhaoEmail author
  • LiZhao Zhang
  • FuSong Zhang
  • XinZhi Wu
Open Access
Article Geology


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.


Gigantopithecus blacki diet enamel stable carbon isotopes habitat 


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© The Author(s) 2011

Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits any use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

Authors and Affiliations

  • LingXia Zhao
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
    Email author
  • LiZhao Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
  • FuSong Zhang
    • 3
  • XinZhi Wu
    • 2
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Evolutionary Systematics of Vertebrates, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and PaleoanthropologyChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Laboratory of Human Evolution, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and PaleoanthropologyChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Lithospheric Evolution, Institute of Geology and GeophysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.State Key Laboratory of Palaeobiology and Stratigraphy, Nanjing Institute of Geology and PaleontologyChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingChina

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