Scientists have estimated that the extinct monkey, known as Gigantopithecus blacki, was almost 3 meters tall and had twice the weight of the gorilla, but no complete skull or any other bone from the rest of the skeleton was found, leading to much speculation ,
"It's an enigmatic way," said Enrico Cappellini, adjunct professor at the Globe Institute of the University of Copenhagen at the Faculty of Health and Medicine.
"There have been various hypotheses about what the next living organism might be."
Now, the genetic information that Cappellini and his colleagues took from a 1.9-million-year-old monkey tooth showed that the Orangutan is the closest living relative.
"The genetic material governs the debate ̵
The team of scientists used protein sequencing on enamel of the molar tooth found in a cave in southern China to reveal the evolutionary relationship to the living orangutan. Their findings were published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
Real King Kong?
The only evidence that the unusually large monkey extinct 300,000 years ago consisted of four jawbone fragments and several thousand teeth.
Cappellini warned that the results of the study did not necessarily lead the Gigantopithecus to look like an orangutan.
"The information available to us provides no further insight into the animal's physiology, biology and appearance," he said.