Climate Change Figured in Ancient Apes' Disappearance
A new study reports that great apes were wiped out in ancient Europe when climate and environmental changes replaced forests with grasslands. The change meant monkeys thrived but great apes did not. "Ancient relatives of modern orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees and gibbons were able to survive in Asia and Africa, where those changes were not as drastic," reports the BBC.
The study points out that today's great apes are vulnerable to more rapid environmental changes brought about by human beings. BBC quotes Dr. Ellen Schulz from the University of Hamburg: "Great apes are in danger of extinction, mostly because of humans destroying their habitat," she said. "But there's something else - people tend to forget that preserving biodiversity is important for their own survival as well - we never know what awaits us in the future."