The Apes

Topics: Primate, Ape, Hominidae Pages: 7 (1782 words) Published: November 4, 2014
For other uses, see Ape (disambiguation).
For an explanation of very similar terms, see Hominidae.
Hominoids or Apes
Temporal range: Late Oligocene–Holocene
Orang Utan, Semenggok Forest Reserve, Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia.JPG Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus)
Scientific classification e
Gray, 1825
Type species
Homo sapiens
Linnaeus, 1758

Apes (Hominoidea) are a branch of Old World tailless anthropoid catarrhine primates native to Africa and Southeast Asia and distinguished by a wide degree of freedom at the shoulder joint indicating the influence of brachiation. There are two main branches: the gibbons, or lesser apes; and the hominids or great apes.

Lesser apes (Hylobatidae) include four genera and sixteen species of gibbon, including the lar gibbon, and the siamang, all native to Asia. They are highly arboreal and bipedal on the ground. They have lighter bodies and smaller social groups than great apes. The Hominidae include orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and humans.[1][2] Alternatively, the family are collectively described as the great apes.[3][4][5][6] There are two extant species in the orangutan genus (Pongo), two species in the gorilla genus, and a single extant species Homo sapiens in the human genus (Homo). Chimpanzees and bonobos are closely related to each other and they represent the two species in the genus Pan. Members of the superfamily are called hominoids (not to be confused with the family of "hominids" - great apes, the subfamily of hominines, the tribe of "hominins" aka the human clade, or the subtribe of hominans).

Some or all hominoids are also called "apes". However, the term "ape" is used in several different senses. It has been used as a synonym for "monkey" or for any tailless primate with a humanlike appearance.[7] Thus the Barbary macaque, a kind of monkey, is popularly called the "Barbary ape" to indicate its lack of a tail. Biologists have used the term "ape" to mean a member of the superfamily Hominoidea other than humans,[3] or more recently to mean all members of the superfamily Hominoidea, so that "ape" becomes another word for "hominoid".[6][8] See also Primate: Historical and modern terminology.

Except for gorillas and humans, hominoids are agile climbers of trees. Their diet is best described as frugivorous and folivorous, consisting mainly of fruit, nuts, seeds, including grass seeds, and in some cases other animals (consumed for social or dietary purposes), either hunted or scavenged (or farmed solely in the case of humans), along with anything else available and easily digested. Meat is not consumed by every species.[citation needed]

Most non-human hominoids are rare or endangered. The chief threat to most of the endangered species is loss of tropical rainforest habitat, though some populations are further imperiled by hunting for bushmeat.

Contents [hide]
1 Historical and modern terminology
1.1 Greater and lesser
2 Biology
2.1 Behaviour and cognition
2.2 Distinction from monkeys
3 History of hominoid taxonomy
3.1 Changes in taxonomy
4 Classification and evolution
5 See also
6 Notes and references
7 External links
Historical and modern terminology[edit]
"Ape", from Old English apa, with cognates in several other Germanic languages, is a word of uncertain origin.[9] It is possibly an onomatopoetic imitation of animal chatter.[citation needed] The term has a history of rather imprecise usage. Its earliest meaning was that of any non-human primate, later often specialized to mean a tailless (and therefore exceptionally human-like) primate.[7][10] The original usage of "ape" in English might have referred to the baboon, an Old World monkey.[citation needed] Two tailless species of...
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