About Apes


Are apes monkeys?
Many people confuse apes with monkeys, but they are quite different. There are hundreds of species of monkeys and only 19 species of apes. Gibbons and siamangs claim 13 of these and the other 6 are great apes. There is no single unique feature that defines an ape, rather a suite of distinguishing characteristics. Ape bodies are quite different from those of other primates: apes are generally bigger than monkeys, have a broad chest and don't have tails. Apes' arms are considerably longer than their legs. Great apes also have relatively large brains and long infancies and maturation periods.

Who are the apes?
Apes are our closest living relatives. Apes are split into two different groups: greater and small, or "lesser", apes. The great apes include gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, and orangutans. The smaller apes are gibbons and siamangs. Gibbons, siamangs and orangutans are found in southeast Asia while gorillas, chimpanzees, and bonobos live in equatorial Africa. All apes are primarily vegetarians, although chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans do eat some animal protein.

Where do they live? Gibbons are found in India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and China. The bonobo is only found in one country, in Africa: the Democratic Republic of Congo. Chimpanzees are found in Africa and have the largest range of any African ape. They range from Senegal in the west to Tanzania in the east. Gorillas live in west and central Africa, from Nigeria in the west to Rwanda and Uganda in the east. Orangutans are found in Asia, on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra.
How many types are there? Many taxonomies exist for gibbons. It is generally accepted that there are 16 species in four groups (genera): Hylobates, Hoolock, Symphalangus, and Nomascus. There is only one species of bonobo, Pan paniscus. There is one species of chimpanzee, Pan troglodytes, and several subspecies. There are two species (each of which contain two subspecies): western gorilla, Gorilla gorilla; and eastern gorilla, Gorilla beringei. There are two species (and several subspecies): Bornean orangutan, Pongo pygmaeus
Sumatran orangutan, Pongo abelii.
Are they endangered?* One species is vulnerable, 11 are endangered, and 4 are critically endangered. Endangered Endangered Western gorillas are critically endangered; eastern gorillas are endangered. Sumatran orangutans are critically endangered; Bornean orangutans are endangered.
What do they eat? Gibbons eat primarily fruit but also consume flowers, seeds, and leaves. Bonobos consume mainly fruit but also eat seeds, flowers, leaves, and other plant parts. Chimpanzees mainly eat fruit as well as flowers, seeds, and other plant parts. Some groups regularly hunt and consume meat. Gorillas primarily consume leaves, stems, and roots. Their diet primarily consists of fruit but also includes seeds, leaf shoots, insects, flowers, and bark.
How big are they? Males: 12 (gibbon) - 28 (siamang) lbs
Females: 14 (gibbons) - 22 (siamang) lbs
Males: 85 lbs
Females: 70 lbs
Males: 90-132 lbs
Females: 70-100 lbs
Males: 350-400 lbs
Females: 150-200 lbs
Males: 175-200 lbs
Females: 70-100 lbs
What type of group do they live in? Gibbons typically live in monogamous family groups consisting of a mated pair and offspring, although groups with more than one adult female or more than one adult male have been observed in some species. Groups can range from 10-120 individuals; however, whole groups are rarely together but instead consist of subgroups that can change membership daily. Males tend to stay in their group for life while females leave at sexual maturity. Groups can contain 20-130 individuals and average 35 members. The whole group is rarely found together but instead is usually found in subgroups that may change membership daily. Males tend to stay in their group for life while females leave at sexual maturity. Groups may contain from 2 to 65 individuals (average 8-11). Gorillas have close knit family groups that generally contain only one adult male per group except in mountain gorillas. Males may be solitary. Both males and females may leave their natal groups at maturity. Orangutans are generally solitary, although they are sometimes seen in groups of 2-3 if food is plentiful.
* Species conservation statuses are based on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)'s Red List of Threatened Species.



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