21. The Miocene Hominoid Radiations

  1. David R. Begun
  1. David R. Begun

Published Online: 14 JAN 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118332344.ch21

A Companion to Paleoanthropology

A Companion to Paleoanthropology

How to Cite

Begun, D. R. (2013) The Miocene Hominoid Radiations, in A Companion to Paleoanthropology (ed D. R. Begun), Blackwell Publishing Ltd, Oxford. doi: 10.1002/9781118332344.ch21

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 14 JAN 2013
  2. Published Print: 25 FEB 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444331165

Online ISBN: 9781118332344



  • African late Miocene apes;
  • fossil ape record;
  • hominoid radiation;
  • hominoid radiation;
  • Miocene


This chapter reviews the main patterns in the fossil ape record and how they inform about the evolutionary history of the living apes. It covers the origin of the hominoids at the end of the Oligocene (about 25 Ma, or millions of years ago), their successive hominoid radiations in Africa, Europe and Asia, and the disappearance of nearly all fossil apes at end of the Miocene. It also briefly discusses the pongine radiation in the Miocene. The fossil apes from western Eurasia also experience an impressive radiation during the Late Miocene. There are three samples of Late Miocene apes from East Africa that have been interpreted as more directly related to living African apes and humans than any Eurasian taxon. The evolutionary relations among fossil and recent hominoids will probably take many more years to resolve, if they are ever resolved.