An ape is any primate from the superfamily Hominoidea, with the possible exception of humans. Over 300 species of primates exist in the world. The most recognizable difference that separates apes from monkeys is the fact that apes don’t have tails, and they are generally a lot larger. Apes also depend more on their vision than smell because their noses are shorter, instead of snout-like. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. Some monkeys don’t have tails and some ape species are smaller than monkeys.
The skeleton of an ape is very similar to a human’s with its broad, flat chest and arms capable of lifting up and backward from the shoulder. An ape’s arm is longer than its leg, but its hands are very similar to human hands in size and shape and capability of grasping objects.
Apes are smart because of their capability to use tools and use language to communicate. Their social lives are much more complex than that of any other animal, and they are great problem solvers. The Great Apes consist of gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans and bonobos, which live in Africa and Asia. There are also the Lesser Apes, which consist of gibbons and siamangs.
Fun Ape Facts
-The amount of identical DNA in chimpanzees and humans range from 94.6% to 99.4%.
- Because humans and gorillas are so closely related, diseases can be transmitted from one to another. This is the reason for glass cages at zoos and animal parks.
Smithsonian National Zoological Park
Click here to go back to Animal Facts and Information.