If gorillas strike you as intimidating, try to imagine a nearly 10-foot lookalike: that dizzying stat belongs to none other than Gigantopithecus blacki. Don’t worry about running into this colossus of an ape when you’re out and about; G. blacki went extinct long ago, but for years, researchers couldn’t decipher exactly when and why it disappeared. The only concrete traces it has left come in the form of 2000 fossilized teeth and four jawbones.
But new evidence has finally answered these burning questions, seemingly closing the case on the enigma surrounding G. blacki’s toppling.
According to a press release, researchers from China, Australia, and the U.S. found critical pieces of the G. blacki puzzle as they explored the ape’s old stomping grounds in the Guangxi region of Southern China. The joint research team published their findings in Nature, establishing a new timeframe for G. blacki’s extinction and clarifying the conditions that prompted its downfall.