Pliopithecus: One of the earliest proto-apes, Pliopithecus had the look of a modern gibbon although its arms were not as disproportionately long and specialized for swinging through the trees. On the basis of its teeth and skull it is now classed as an ancestor of the gibbon line.
Oreopithecus: A likely sidebranch on man's family tree, Oreopithecus is believed t ohave stood around four feet tall and weighed about 80 pounds. Its teeth and pelvis led scientists to wonder if it could be ancestral to man, but apparently it became extinct some 8 million years ago.
Dryopithecus: Though its skeleton is tantalizingly incomplete, Dryopithecus can be fairly described from a few jaws and teeth. First of the fossil great apes to be discovered, it was widely distributed; remains have been unearthed throughout Europe, in North India and China.
Proconsul: Known from numerous fragments adding up to almost complete skeletons, Proconsul is considered to be a very early ape, the ancestor of the chimpanzee and perhaps of the gorilla. A contemporary of Pliopithecus, it is often found with it in the same fossil site.
Ramapithecus: The easliest manlike primate found so far, Ramapithecus is now thought by some experts to be the oldest of man's ancestors in a direct line. This hominid status is predicated upon a few teeth, some fragments of jaw and a palate unmistakably human in shape.