Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Nature. 2019 Dec;576(7786):262-265. doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1728-8. Epub 2019 Nov 13.

Enamel proteome shows that Gigantopithecus was an early diverging pongine.

Author information

1
Evolutionary Genomics Section, Globe Institute, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark. frido.welker@bio.ku.dk.
2
Evolutionary Genomics Section, Globe Institute, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
3
Institute of Evolutionary Biology (UPF-CSIC), University Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain.
4
School of Earth Sciences, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan, China.
5
Anthropology Museum of Guangxi, Nanning, China.
6
Computational Systems Biochemistry, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Martinsried, Germany.
7
Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
8
Lundbeck Foundation GeoGenetics Centre, Globe Institute, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
9
CNRS FRE 2029 BABEL, Université Paris Descartes, Faculté de Chirurgie Dentaire, Paris, France.
10
Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
11
UMR7206 Eco-anthropologie, Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, Musée de l'Homme, Paris, France.
12
Institute of Cultural Heritage, Shandong University, Qingdao, China. wangw@sdu.edu.cn.
13
Institute of Evolutionary Biology (UPF-CSIC), University Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain. tomas.marques@upf.edu.
14
Catalan Institution of Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA), Barcelona, Spain. tomas.marques@upf.edu.
15
Centre for Genomic Regulation (CNAG-CRG), Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology, Barcelona, Spain. tomas.marques@upf.edu.
16
Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain. tomas.marques@upf.edu.
17
Evolutionary Genomics Section, Globe Institute, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark. ecappellini@bio.ku.dk.

Abstract

Gigantopithecus blacki was a giant hominid that inhabited densely forested environments of Southeast Asia during the Pleistocene epoch1. Its evolutionary relationships to other great ape species, and the divergence of these species during the Middle and Late Miocene epoch (16-5.3 million years ago), remain unclear2,3. Hypotheses regarding the relationships between Gigantopithecus and extinct and extant hominids are wide ranging but difficult to substantiate because of its highly derived dentognathic morphology, the absence of cranial and post-cranial remains1,3-6, and the lack of independent molecular validation. We retrieved dental enamel proteome sequences from a 1.9-million-year-old G. blacki molar found in Chuifeng Cave, China7,8. The thermal age of these protein sequences is approximately five times greater than that of any previously published mammalian proteome or genome. We demonstrate that Gigantopithecus is a sister clade to orangutans (genus Pongo) with a common ancestor about 12-10 million years ago, implying that the divergence of Gigantopithecus from Pongo forms part of the Miocene radiation of great apes. In addition, we hypothesize that the expression of alpha-2-HS-glycoprotein, which has not been previously observed in enamel proteomes, had a role in the biomineralization of the thick enamel crowns that characterize the large molars in Gigantopithecus9,10. The survival of an Early Pleistocene dental enamel proteome in the subtropics further expands the scope of palaeoproteomic analysis into geographical areas and time periods previously considered incompatible with the preservation of substantial amounts of genetic information.

PMID:
31723270
PMCID:
PMC6908745
[Available on 2020-05-13]
DOI:
10.1038/s41586-019-1728-8

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center