King Kong isn't just a movie, we have proof that a giant ape used to roam around in nature all over Asia. However, what we didn't know until recently was that the reason it died out was because the animal failed to adapt its diet to eating more greens.
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The Gigantopithecus - the name of this super large ape - appears to have been a victim to some of the effects of climate change as its diet, which consisted mostly of dried fruit, was nearly wiped out by the ice age.
There isn't much to go on about just how large this animal was because we only have fragments of fossils, but our best guess is that he might have been 10 feet tall and weighed about 1,100 pounds. Though their relative the orangutan still lives, this one lived for hundreds of thousands of years before becoming extinct - for reasons we didn't know.
However, now German scientists believe that they have made a breakthrough in what exactly killed these gentle giants.
Professor Hervé Bocherens, of the Centre for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment (HEP), at the University of Tübingen, said: “Now, we are able to shed a little light on the obscure history of this primate.”
The team of scientists hail from all over the world and concluded that the ape didn't eat meat - and that his diet dwindled so much during the ice age that they all starved to death.
“Due to its size, Gigantopithecus presumably depended on a large amount of food,” said Prof Bocherens. “When more and more forested area turned into savannah landscapes, there was simply an insufficient food supply.”
Other apes survived because they were able to switch over to leaves, roots, and grass. However, Gigantophithecus didn't switch and died off, according to the New York Times.
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“Gigantopithecus probably did not have the same ecological flexibility and possibly lacked the physiological ability to resist stress and food shortage,” said the study.