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Ape Primate

Ape Primate

Ape Primate are a branch of Old World tailless anthropoid primates native to Africa and Southeast Asia. They are the sister group of the Old World monkeys, together forming the catarrhine clade.

Apes are the closest relatives to humans. They are similar to people not only in appearance but also in that they are highly intelligent and form complex social Primates groups. Ape Primate are divided into the lesser apes (the gibbons) and the larger great apes the orangutan, gorillas, and chimpanzees. The great apes are genetically very similar to humans. They are found in western and central Africa and throughout southern and Southeast Asia, mainly in tropical rainforests. Ape Primate are essentially vegetarian and mostly eat fruit, although some are omnivorous. They are threatened by loss of their forest habitat, hunting and poaching (often for their skins or skulls, and capture for zoos and the pet trade. Chimpanzees were once widely used in medical research.

Anatomy

A shortened spine and a relatively short, broad pelvis lower the centre of gravity in apes, thereby facilitating a more upright posture. Apes have a broad chest, with the shoulder blades at the back, which allows an exceptionally wide range of movement in the shoulder joint. A gorilla, for example, can sit on the ground and reach out in any direction to pull in vegetation. Apes also have a flattened face, well-developed jaw, grasping hands and feet, and downward-directed, close-set nostrils. The great apes are very large: the orangutan is the largest arboreal mammal and the gorilla may weigh over 200kg (440 lb).

Social organization

Lesser apes may form monogamous pairs. They mark their treetop territories with loud, musical songs in which the monkeys (for example) at once. Chimpanzees apparently pass on customs and technologies socially, by example, rather than genetically.

Intelligence

Apes are extremely intelligent even more so than monkeys. They appear to work through problems in the same way that humans do. Chimpanzees, for example, use and sometimes make simple tools, as does at least one population of orangutans in northern Sumatra. The orangutan is one example of an ape that has performed several complex tasks such as solving puzzles, using sign language, and learning to recognize symbols- in research centres male and female sing different parts. A maturing young will attempt to establish its own territory by singing alone, until it finds a mate. The orangutan is the only great ape that is solitary. A mature male controls a large territory with deep, resonant calling. He has access to all the females that enter his domain. The other great apes have well-defined social groups. Gorillas live in troops of 5-10 (oocasionally up to 30), consisting of several females, one dominant mature silverback” male, and possibly one or 2 other silverbacks (the sons or younger brothers of the dominant male). Chimpanzees live in communities of 40-100. Although there is a dominant male and a social hierarchy, individuals have almost complete freedom to come and go. Foraging occurs in small groups, the composition of which changes daily. Chimpanzees found in West Africa are particularly fond of hunting, and the males cooperate closely to catch several.

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