In this bonus Food Non-Fiction podcast episode, we talk about giant apes and bamboo. In a National Geographic article, we read that perhaps giant apes competed with giant pandas for bamboo. To learn more about this, we spoke to the gigantopithecus (giant ape) expert, Dr. Russel Ciochon. In an enlightening interview, the professor informed us that there is no evidence of competition between gigantopithecus and giant pandas and that gigantopithecus is more likely to have become extinct because they were large animals and could not adapt during more extreme climate change.
Researchers know what gigantopithecus ate because of phytolith ("phyto" meaning plant and "lith" meaning stone) found in gigantopithecus teeth. Our knowledge of phytolith shapes let us recognize the phytolith as coming from bamboo and durian.
Special Thanks: to Professor Russell Ciochon
References: National Geographic article