Though Bigfoot hunters may cling to hope, Earth’s largest known ape disappeared from the fossil record about 100,000 years ago. Now, researchers have an idea why, National Geographic reports. A study published last month in Quaternary International analyzed the ratio of carbon isotopes in Gigantopithecus teeth, and found that the 10-foot-tall apes ate mostly forest fruit. The last Pleistocene ice age swept the earth around the time of the apes’ demise, triggering a shift from forest to grassland. Many smaller species survived by eating leaves and grasses, but Gigantopithecus’s diet may have been less flexible, researchers say. In the barren ice age landscape, they likely couldn’t find enough fruit to fuel their massive bodies.
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