Study: Climate Change Caused Extinction of Ancient Giant Ape

    Study: Climate Change Caused Extinction of Ancient Giant Ape
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

    The Facts

    • A new study published in the journal Nature on Wednesday found that the world's largest-ever primate — the Gigantopithecus blacki, which stood at 10 feet tall and weighed as much as 660 pounds — went extinct over 200K years ago after it was left without its primary diet, fruit, due to a changing climate.

    • The Gigantopithecus thrived in the region between the Yangtze River and the South China Sea for millions of years, sustained by an almost year-round fruit supply, before the climate turned dry and was divided by seasons. Because of this, it was forced to shift to a more fiber-based and less nutritious diet.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    The extinction of the Gigantopithecus not only tells us about the ancient past but also provides lessons on how to deal with climate change today. Due to a drying climate millennia ago, this massive primate — which would typically rule atop the food chain due to its size — was left without the necessary fruits required for survival. The world should take note of this study and use it to protect our ailing ecosystem today.

    Narrative B

    What caused the Gigantopithecus to go extinct is not happening today; in fact, the opposite is occurring. Studies have found that the rising amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has inadvertently increased global greening. This greening has resulted in an abundance of vegetation for species to eat, ranging from the arctic tundra and coral reefs to rainforests and even the deserts of Africa.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 29% chance that more than 33% of the earth's land area will be covered by forest in 2050, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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