|Named By:||Paul Gervais in 1849|
|Size:||Around 1 to 1.2 meters tall|
|Fossil(s):||Many specimens but usually of fragmentary remains|
|Classification:||| Chordata | Mammaila | Primates | Simiiformes | Catarrhini | Pliopithecoidea | Pliopithecidae | Pliopithecinae ||
Pliopithecus is a genus of extinct primates of the Miocene. It was discovered in 1837 by Edouard Lartet (1801-1871) in France, with fossils subsequently discovered in Switzerland, Slovakia and Spain.
Pliopithecus' had a similar size and form to modern gibbons, to which it may be related, although it is probably not a direct ancestor. It had long limbs, hands, and feet, and may have been able to brachiate, swinging between trees using its arms. Unlike gibbons, it had a short tail, and only partial stereoscopic vision.#
They appear to have originated in Asia and extended their range into Europe between 17 and 13 million years ago.
Begun and Harrison list the following species within the genus - Pliopithecus antiquus, Pliopithecus bii, Pliopithecus canmatensis, Pliopithecus platyodon, Pliopithecus vindobonensis, and Pliopithecus zhanxiangi. Pliopithecus antiquus has been referred to previously as Pliopithecus piveteaui.
vindobonensis is sometimes considered to be a separate genus, Epipliopithecus.
Anapithecus is a close relative and was initially considered a subgenus of Pliopithecus.