Mar 12

Dinopithecus The ‭‬”Terrible Ape‭‬”

Dinopithecus was an extinct genus of giant baboon (as big as a grown man) that lived during the Pliocene of South Africa. Dinopithecus ingens translates to English as‭ ‘‬huge terrible ape‭’‬. Males estimated to have been about‭ ‬1.5‭ ‬meters tall at the shoulder,‭ ‬females would have likely been smaller as in other baboons. ‬Though only known from partial remains,‭ ‬Dinopithecus is usually credited with a shoulder height of about one and a half meters tall.‭ ‬

This height estimate is usually reserved for males however,‭ ‬and usually female baboons are at least a little bit smaller than the males. ‬Regardless however,‭ ‬there is no doubt that Dinopithecus was one of the largest baboons to ever exist,‭ ‬and substantially larger than the chacma/Cape baboon‭ (‬Papio ursinus‭) ‬which is the largest type of baboon alive today.‭ baboon alive today.‭ ‬Dinopithecus would have likely lived in groups that may have numbered many dozens of individuals.‭ ‬A‭ ‬2006‭ ‬thesis by Brian Carter noted that dental wear patterns on baboons such as Dinopithecus indicating a greater amount of graminvory‭ (‬grass eating‭).


It’s possible that Dinopithecus supplemented its diet by also hunting animals such as invertebrates,‭ ‬fish,‭ ‬lizards,‭ ‬birds and mammals.‭ ‬Large modern baboons have also been documented attacking animals as large as goats and sheep. Despite the large size and potential ferocity as an occasional predator of other animals,‭ ‬Dinopithecus would have also been prey for other predators of the Pliocene.‭ ‬ ‬In addition to prehistoric big cats,‭ ‬relatives of modern crocodiles such as Crocodylus thorbjarnarsoni were known to have grown to very large sizes with strong bites and armored skin,‭ ‬making them easily capable of tackling a Dinopithecus. Perhaps the greatest threat to Dinopithecus were the emerging hominids.‭ ‬



The discovery of the fossils of some ninety giant baboons referenced as giant Geladas‭ found together have been interpreted as being killed by the hominid Homo erectus sometime between four hundred thousand and seven hundred thousand years ago. ‭‬The baboons in these concentrations were mostly juvenile or sub adult,‭ ‬and not of mixed ages,‭ ‬leading to the suggestion that the Homo erectus selectively killed baboons of these ages. ‬If hominids were also selectively killing juvenile Dinopithecus earlier in the Pliocene,‭ ‬then this might explain the eventual extinction of this baboon.‭


9 Responses to “Dinopithecus The ‭‬”Terrible Ape‭‬””

    • Denise F

      Yep, kinda looks like fun, lol.

      I love the part at the beginning where the guy is standing there in the dark before the shooting starts and you here him say ” don’t shoot me…”
      I was thinking ‘yes, please don’t shoot him’

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