At present there are two families of hominoids. The first family is the Hylobatidae which comprises 4 genera and 14 species of gibbon including the Lar Gibbon and Siamang which are collectively known as the lesser known apes. The other family is the Hominidae which includes chimpanzees, gorillas, humans and orangutans which are together known as the greater apes. Another primate species known as Barbary Ape has also the name ape associated with it but is the true ape. Except humans and gorillas all apes have the potential to climb on the trees. They are placed in the category of omnivorous animals as they feed on fruits, seeds and even on animals hunted or scavenged. They are able to digest both plant and animal matter very well. They are native to Africa and Asia but humans have inhabited themselves in all parts of the world.

Most of the nonhuman ape species now share the category of endangered or rare. They are on the verge of extinction because of the loss of the tropical rainforests and some species were even hunted for the bush meat. The word ape has been derived from an Old English word. A group of apes is known as troop. The gibbon family or Hylobatidae is made up of fifteen medium-sized species. They can be identified by the presence of large arms which they used to brachiate through the trees. Their wrists are the ball and socket joints which are an adaptation to their arboreal mode of life. Siamang is the largest among all the gibbons weighing about 14 kg. The smallest greater ape is the common chimpanzee which weighs about 40-65 kg. The great ape family was earlier named as Pongidae and humans were not placed in it but later on this classification got changed. Both greater apes as well as the lesser paes fall within Catarrhini which includes Old World monkeys of Africa and Eurasia. The apes can be distinguished from these monkeys by the number of cusps present on their molars. Apes have mobile shoulder joints and arms due to the dorsal position of the scapula. They have broad ribcages which are less mobile in comparison to that of the Old World monkeys. All the members of Hylobatidae and Hominidae are tailless and humans have better bipedal locomotion. Apart from this classification there are other primates also which also lack tail and can walk bipedally very well. The front skull is characterized by presence of sinuses.

The hominoid fossil record gives a better outline about the evolutionary history of humans. The time split between humans and living apes is considered to be about 15-20 million years. Some apes occurring during that period like Ramapithecus are considered possible as ancestors of humans. Later studies indicated that Ramapithecus was much closely related to orangutans but biochemical studies indicate that they were the last possible ancestors of humans. They evolved 5-10 million years ago. Studies indicate that apes evolved around 29-34.5 million years ago. Studies suggest that apes are intelligent animals. They have problem-solving capabilities.

Film Duration: 49 min