Scientists estimate that the extinct monkey, known as Gigantopithecus blacki, stood nearly 10 feet high (3 meters) and was twice the weight of gorillas, but no full skull or other bone was found than the rest part of the skeleton. which leads to a lot of speculation.
"This is a mysterious species," said Enrico Capelini, an associate professor at the Globe Institute of the University of Copenhagen's Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences.
"There have been various hypotheses as to what the closest living organism may be."
Now, genetic information extracted from a 1.9 million-year-old tooth belonging to the monkey by Capellini and his colleagues revealed that the orangutan is his closest living relative.
"Genetic material governs the debate. Genetically it looks like an orangutan," he said.
A team of scientists uses protein sequences on molar enamel, which was discovered in a cave in southern China, revealing an evolutionary link to a living orangutan. Their findings were published Wednesday in the scientific journal Nature.
Real King Kong? The only evidence of the existence of an unusually large monkey that disappeared 300,000 years ago is four fragments of the jaw bone and several thousand teeth.
Capellini warned that the findings of the study did not mean that Gigantopithecus would necessarily look like an orangutan.
"The information at our disposal does not provide any additional knowledge regarding the physiology, biology and appearance of the animal," he said.
Understanding Human Origin
 used by scientists, known as paleoproteomics, could also be used to elucidate evolutionary history, hidden in fossils, too old to conserve DNA, and to help revolutionize our understanding of human history. in fossils has allowed us to reconstruct the last 50,000 years of evolution, but the oldest human fossil remains of 400,000 years, leaving a void in our evolutionary history.
This is also the first genetic material that this old one has extracted from fossils in a subtropical region, where hot and humid conditions mean that the genetic material decays much faster.
"Up to now, it has been possible to extract genetic information from up to 10,000-year-old fossils in warm and humid regions," says Friedo Wellker, a researcher at the University of Copenhagen's Globe Institute of Health and Medical Sciences and the first author of the study.
"This is interesting because the ancient remains of the supposed ancestors of our species, Homo sapiens, are also found mainly in subtropical regions, especially for the early part of human evolution. means that we can potentially retrieve such information along the evolutionary line leading to humans. "