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A reassessment ofMegamacaca lantianensis, a large monkey from the Pleistocene of north-central China

Journal of Human Evolution
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/0047-2484(91)90045-w
  • Cercopithecidae
  • Colobinae
  • Asia
  • China
  • Lantian
  • Rhinopithecus
  • Macaca
  • Cercopithecid Evolution
  • Pleistocene


Abstract Megamacaca lantianensis, a cercopithecid of Early Pleistocene age from the Gongwangling locality of Lantian, Shaanxi Province, China, was first described in 1978 as a large cercopithecine with affinities to the living and fossil macaques of China. Recent examination of the type series has indicated M. lantianensis is a large colobine rather than a cercopithecine. Megamacaca lantianensis was found to share several derived dental characters with extant Asian colobines, but not with Macaca. Characters uniting M. lantianensis to the Colobinae but not to the Cercopithecinae included a relatively wide P 3 and lower molars with relatively short trigonids, high relief, and deeply incised lingual notches. Further, it was found that M. lantianensis shared several derived characters with Rhinopithecus (and its sister taxon Pygathrix) that it did not share with other colobines. These features included: (1) a high and vertically oriented mandibular ramus; (2) a three-cusped P 3; (3) irregularly wrinkled enamel on the unworn occlusal surfaces of the molars; (4) the presence of accessory cusplets, conules, and styles on the molars; and (5) molars with somewhat puffy buccal and lingual surfaces. Similarities in the morphology of the ramus, body, and symphysis of the mandible ramus between the fossil form and Rhinopithecus (but not Pygathrix) have led to the conclusion that Magamacaca should be synonymized with Rhinopithecus and that the Gongwangling cercopithecid be henceforth referred to as Rhinopithecus lantianensis.

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