Determining the extinction of Gigantopithecus blacki in Pleistocene oriental Asia using dental microwear, sediment micromorphology and luminescence dating

  • Westaway, KE (Primary Chief Investigator)
  • Lubeek, Julien (Chief Investigator)

Project: Research

Project Details


This PhD project (2018-2021) is part of the “Giganto Project” (project website: A multidisciplinary project, initiated by A/Prof. K. E. Westaway (Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Macquarie University), that combines earth sciences with biological and archaeological sciences (Appendix B). The aim is to establish a
reliable extinction story for the largest ape that ever lived: Gigantopithecus blacki. Research insights into the extinction of this prehistoric and mysterious giant animal can contribute to the conservation of modern giant, vulnerable animals, or ‘megafauna’, and their ecosystems. The Giganto Project is currently the only active project in the world searching for evidence of this animal’s extinction while combining many unique techniques that have never been applied on G. blacki before. The project has been awarded with an Australian Research Council (ARC) Grant in 2017 for 3 years and will expire by the end of 2019. However, the current applicant started his PhD in 2018 which means that there is no sufficient funding left to finish his project according to new desirable approaches that have been discovered after the start of the project. The PhD turns out to be more expensive than expected, but does include beneficial techniques, as the applicant wishes to examine the extinction in terms of what, where and when this took place. Since the fossil evidence is limited and small in size, the applicant is using new state-of-the-art-microscopic techniques to reconstruct the dietary behaviour, environment and timing of extinction of this iconic giant.
Effective start/end date6/05/206/05/21