Reconstruction-portraits for the Scientific American article on Miocene apes, artwork by John Gurche on the left. The two reconstructions above represent forms of Sivapithecus, thought to have been directly ancestral to the Orangutans of Asia. Miocene apes in general seem to have gone through the three stages illustrated at left: the small and early Proconsuls which had apelike teeth but had be monkeys and lived much like them when they were in their heydays went more or less directly into the larger and more diversified Dryopithecines (best represented in Europe) and then on to the more fully apelike forms typified by Sivapithecus. John Gurche remarks that Sivapithecus took everything that made apes distinctive and then exaggerated the features as much as they could.l chart placing fossil apes and humans together and showing their assumed relationships.
Hands of fossil apes. The two hands on the left are different specimens of Oreopithecus, which are smaller and more generalized than the later ape pictured on the right, with more obvious adaptations for brachiation and knuckle-walking. are shown below, indicating how far out the opposed big toe could rotate.
|Sivapithecus fossil and Orangutan skull.|