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Udo Thani?  New species of great apes discovered in Allgäu

Udo Thani? New species of great apes discovered in Allgäu

In the Hammerschmide mud pit near Pforzen in the Ostalgau region, Tübingen paleontologists have discovered another previously unknown species of great ape. The researchers named the animal “Buronius manfredschmidi.” The animal therefore comes from the same time as the exciting discovery “Danuvius guggenmosi”, also known as “Udo”, according to the Tübingen researchers led by Professor Madeleine Boehm: “The great thing is: it is the second great ape in the world.” Hammer “It's the first time we've found fossils of two monkeys living next to each other in the same habitat. This is really exciting.”

Poronius was younger than Odo – and a vegetarian

The size of the fossils indicates that Boronius was younger than Odo. Experts on Boehm's team estimate that it may have weighed around ten kilograms. Great apes living today weigh between 30 and 200 kilograms. Compared to Danuvius, there are clear differences: the condition of the patella indicates that Poronius was better at climbing. Based on its teeth, researchers are pretty sure it was a leaf-eater. Danuvius, on the other hand, was an omnivore, according to Madeleine Boehm. Given these characteristics, the two types would not get in each other's way.

The name is a tribute to local amateur archaeologists

By the way, the name Buronius refers to the medieval Kaufbeuren, which was then called Buron. The second part of the name of the new species of great ape should be understood as a tribute to the local exploration pioneer. In the late 1970s, amateur archaeologists Manfred Schmid and Sieglv Juggenmos discovered fossils of value from today's perspective for the first time in the Hammerschmid clay pit. “It was Professor Boehm who started hammer drilling again, and as you can see: with tremendous success,” says Schmid.

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“One could never imagine an honor like this in their wildest dreams,” says Schmid, who is still actively involved in his hobby. The honor is even more important to him because it is usually only given to people when they die. “And now I can still enjoy success myself,” says the 62-year-old dentist from Marktoberdorf happily.

First Danuvius, now Poronius

In May 2016, researchers from the University of Tübingen discovered fossils of the great ape Odo in the Ostaljo Hammerschmiede clay mine near Pforzen. Danuvius guggenmosi – scientific name – was nicknamed Udo because the discoveries were made on the birthday of singer Udo Lindenberg. The results were first published in 2019 and sparked a significant international response in the scientific and media landscape.

Researchers in Tübingen are convinced that Danuvius was able to walk upright 11.6 million years ago. Until now, scientists had always assumed that upright walking did not evolve until millions of years later in Africa. Therefore, the thesis is controversial.

The story goes on

Introducing the new species of great apes from Hammerschmid, Madeleine Boehm explained that the discovery of Danuvius remains of course Hammerschmid's main sensation. “Because no one expected that, especially a two-legged nature.” The discovery of Boronius is now “at the top”. “That makes things better.” The paleontologist assumes that the remains of Boronius were not the last important discovery in the Ostallgäu clay pit. “And it will continue. And I can imagine we will find great apes again.”

World famous for a small town

The mayor of Pforzen, Herbert Hofer, is pleased that “exciting discoveries are made in the clay pit again and again, which then reach a wide audience and help us become well known.” As a rule, a small community like Ostalgau cannot achieve such international fame, Hofer stresses.

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