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Gibbons [1][2]
Temporal range: Miocene to Recent
Lar gibbon (Hylobates lar): female left, male right
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Superfamily: Hominoidea
Family: Hylobatidae
Gray, 1870


Gibbons belong to the group of lesser apes. They are known for their ability to swing from one tree to another with great agility and swiftness. White-hand gibbons live in Sumatra, Thailand, and Malaysia.

Extraordinary abilities

Gibbons are known to be the best tree travelers in the animal kingdom. They almost seem to be flying as they swing themselves hand over hand through the trees. Like great apes, gibbons can also walk upright on the ground. When they walk on the ground, gibbons hold their long arms in the air to keep them from dragging.[3]

Gibbons are "singers" too. Their powerful voices travel for kilometers through the forests of Southeast Asia. At times, a male, a female, and their young get together and "sing" in a chorus. These sounds help groups of gibbons stay in contact. They also tell unwelcome visitors to stay away.

Much work to do!

Gibbons stay busy for most of the day. They swing through the trees, looking for leaves, flowers, fruit, and insects to eat. When night falls, small groups settle down in familiar trees for a good night's rest.

Male and female

Unlike most other primates, male and female gibbons are not very different in size and shape, although they may differ in color. The males are usually black, while the females tend to be ash blond. Female gibbons have one offspring per gestation period and live about 25 years.[3]


The family is divided into four genera based on their diploid chromosome number: Hylobates (44), Hoolock (38), Nomascus (52), and Symphalangus (50).[2][4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Groves, Colin 2005. Wilson D.E. & Reeder, D.M. (eds) Mammal Species of the World. 3rd ed, Johns Hopkins University Press, 178–181. [1] ISBN 0-801-88221-4
  2. 2.0 2.1 Mootnick, A.; Groves C.P. (2005). "A new generic name for the hoolock gibbon (Hylobatidae)". International Journal of Primatology (26): 971-976.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Pous, Dinora Blue Planet Level 5. 67/8
  4. Geissmann, Thomas (December 1995). "Gibbon systematics and species identification" (PDF). International Zoo News 42: 467–501. Retrieved 2008-08-15.

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