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Temporal range: late Oligocene – Recent
Adult female and infant wild chimpanzees feeding on Ficus sur.jpeg
Chimpanzees, an example of a great ape
Scientific classification e


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Apes are mammals belonging to the primate family Hominoidea. Its members are called hominoids. They are native to Africa and Southeast Asia. Its living members are divided into two families:

One clear difference between monkeys and apes is that monkeys almost always have tails, but hominoids never do. There are also differences in their teeth and the way they move their arms. They have a wide degree of freedom at the shoulder joint, which helps them swing by their arms in the trees (brachiation).

The diets of apes are similar to those of other primates. They eat fruits, nuts, seeds, leaves and sometimes other animals. They are generally omnivores, though most of their intake is herbivorous.[3][4]

Evolutionary tree of the superfamily Hominoidea. It highlights the subfamily Homininae. First the gibbons (Hylobatidae) split from the main line some 18 million years ago. Next, the subfamily Ponginae broke away—leading to the current orangutan. Later the Homininae split into the tribe Hominini (with subtribes Hominina and Panina), and the tribe Gorillini


  1. Groves, Colin; Wilson D.E. and Reeder D.M. (eds) 2005. Mammal species of the world. 3rd ed, Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 178-184.

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    ISBN 0-801-88221-4 [1]
  2. Goodman M. (1990). "Primate evolution at the DNA level and a classification of hominoids". Journal of Molecular Evolution 30 (3): 260–266. doi:10.1007/BF02099995 . PMID 2109087 . 
  3. Ewen, Ewen (13 October 2008). "Loving bonobos have a carnivorous dark side". newscientist. 
  4. Hoag, Hannah (2013). "Humans are becoming more carnivorous". Nature. 

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Media related to Ape at Wikimedia Commons