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The world's largest primate, a 10-foot-tall giant with inch-wide teeth, lived in southeast Asia for many centuries alongside human beings, according to a leading researcher.
Exploring remote caves isolated in a densely forested region of southern China, Jack Rink, a professor of geography and earth sciences at McMaster University in Ontario, found fossilized remains of the huge ape.
Using sophisticated fossil dating techniques, Rink determined that the primate, known to scientists as Gigantopithecus blackii, lived between 300,000 and a million years ago. Humans also existed in the area at that time.
"A missing piece of the puzzle has always focused on pin-pointing when Gigantopithecus existed," said Rink. "This is a primate that co-existed with humans at a time when humans were undergoing a major evolutionary change."