The well-preserved partial skull and skeleton of a gibbon-like creature that lived 11.6 million years ago in Spain is shedding new light on the evolutionary history of modern apes.

Scientists on Thursday announced the discovery in Catalonia of fossil remains of a small, fruit-eating female ape that lived in a warm, wet forested region teeming with animals including elephant relatives, rhinos and saber-toothed predators.

They gave the ape, weighing 9 to 11 pounds (4 to 5 kg), the scientific name Pliobates cataloniae and the nickname "Laia."