Information about: Ape

Index | Ape

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Ape. A name somewhat loosely employed, in common language, as a synonym for monkey, but, in its more restricted sense, applicable only to the anthropoid apes, the highest section of the order Quadrumana, or four-handed mammals; those which make a nearer approach, in anatomical structure, to the human species than do any other animals. The group of apes includes the gibbons, orangutans, chimpanzees, and gorillas. They are all devoid of tails and cheek pouches; the arms are remarkable for their extreme length, and the hind limbs for their remarkable shortness. On the ground these animals are awkward and waddling. They tread rather on the outer edge of the sole than on the sole itself, whieh imparts to their hind limbs a bowed appearance, while their long fore limbs are employed somewhat after the manner of crutches, on the half-closed fists of which, planted firmly on the ground, they rest their bodies. The great length of their arms, on the other hand, gives these animals peculiar advantages in their native forests, and they climb to the topmost branches, or pass from tree to tree, with surprising facility. The apes in general appear to be more grave, and less petulant and mischievous, than the ordinary monkey.