Apes vs. Monkeys

Topics: Primate, Ape, Hominidae Pages: 2 (597 words) Published: May 27, 2013
In the book The Shadow of Man, the chimpanzees being studied are sometimes referred to as monkeys and sometimes as apes. This led me to wonder if there was in fact a difference between monkeys and apes, or if they were just two different ways of saying the same thing. From researching this topic, I found that monkeys and apes belong to the same Domain, Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, and Sub Order, but have a number of profound differences that show up in what Family they belong to.

Apes belong to the Sub Order Anthropoidea, which also includes monkeys and humans. However, they have their own Family, Hominoidea, which includes such apes as Orangutan, Gorilla, Gibbons, Chimpanzee, Bonobo and Human. Some general characteristics that apes share are, larger bodies and brains than monkeys, no tails, prolonged period of infancy, single births, 32 teeth, they posses a mobile shoulder joint allowing them to hang from their arms, and a wider torso and shorter, stiffer lower back region. Another profound difference between apes and monkeys that is easily noticed in their appearance is that apes rely more heavily on vision than smell, and thusly have shorter noses than most monkeys. Because of their larger brains, apes have the ability to use tools, use problem solving skills, distinguish colors, and effectively communicate. Apes are further divided down into two groups greater apes and lesser apes. Greater apes are larger than lesser apes and have opposable thumbs, the ability to walk on two feet, and shorter legs than arms with opposable big toes (with the exception of humans). Lesser apes have much less members and consist solely of Gibbons. Gibbons, although similar in appearance to monkeys, are in fact apes. Gibbons have no tails, and similar skulls and dental patterns as greater apes. All apes are highly endangered (except humans) and inhabit only a very small part of Africa and Asia.

Unlike apes, monkeys have a very large variety of species and are...
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