THE evolution of skeletal adaptations to orthograde postures, characteristic of extant hominoids, is of great interest as it provides the key to understanding the origins of apes and humans. We report here the recent discovery of an extraordinary partial skeleton of Dryopithecus laietanus from Can Llobateres (Spain). It provides evidence that orthograde postures and locomotion appeared at least 9.5 million years ago1. Our results indicate that the body structure of this Miocene ape closely resembles that of extant hominoids2,3 and differs from the prono-grade pattern of Miocene proconsulids4,5 in a set of important morphological characters. Dryopithecusalso shows more traits reflecting structural adaptations for suspension than occurs in African apes. A similar positional behaviour is inferred for Sivapithecus indicus, thus strengthening previous hypotheses linking both Miocene forms with Pongo6-9.