Re: Gigantopithecus - a biped???

Gerrit Hanenburg (
Thu, 20 Jul 1995 19:42:12 GMT (Ludvig Mortberg) wrote:

>I, Ludvig Mortberg <> wrote:

>>I've read somewhere that the shape, primarily the angle between
>>the two rows of teeth formed by molars and premolars, of the
>>gigantopithecine jawbone suggests an animal adapted for walking
>>upright. The jawbone should according to this interpretation be
>>wide and shaped to, sort of, make room for the neck when
>>standing up.

>Does the shape of the three gigantopithecine mandibles discovered,
>suggest an animal adapted for walking upright? Is it possible to draw
>conclusions about posture of a primate, from only mandibles?

Making inferences about posture/bipedal locomotion from mandibles alone seems
to me a very small basis.Personally I wouldn't rely on it.

The toothrows in the chimpanzee mandible run parallel to each other giving it
a U-shaped appearance in superior view.
This is not the case in the mandibles of Gigantopithecus blacki from
Liucheng,southern China.Here the toothrows stand in an angle to each other
giving the jaw a V-shaped appearance.
If you compare the lower jaws of Gigantopithecus blacki with those of
Australopithecus afarensis (e.g. LH4 or AL 400-1a) you can see that the angle
between the toothrows of these two species is almost the same.From this you
might conclude that Gigantopithecus was bipedal.But would you be right?
In order to establish bipedality with some degree of certainty you have to
look at other parts of the anatomy,especially those parts that play an
important role in the transmission of forces during upright walking,
i.e.skullbase,vertebral column,pelvis and lower limbs.