|Credit: Xue-Ping Ji, Yunnan Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology|
A team of researchers working at Shuitangba, a site in the Miocene of China, just announced a pretty awesome juvenile cranium of the Miocene ape genus Lufengpithecus. This skull is important because of its relatively young age (about 6 million years), and because it doesn't closely resemble orangutans. Many researchers have considered Lufengpithecus to be closely related to modern orangutans, but if true, then Lufengpithecus should bear a striking resemblance to modern orangs by 6 million years ago. The authors argue that this isn't the case, and that Lufengpithecus doesn't appear similar to any modern apes. Very cool fossil!