Monday, May 15, 2006


Hominidae are great apes that include human, chimpanzee, gorillas, gibbons and orangutans. DNA showed the relationship between human orangutans, chimpanzees, gorillas and gibbon. Some Hominidae characteristics include complex social behaviour, sexual dimorphism and mostly are terrestrials.

Humans are bipedal primates belonging to the mammalian. Humans have a highly developed brain capable of abstract reasoning, language and introspection. Human are social by nature. Human are mainly adapt to utilizing system of communication such as language for self expression and exchange ideas. Social structure of human consists of cooperating and competing groups. Human are also inborn appreciation for enjoyment, beauty and aesthetic which combined with a human desire for self expression, has led to cultural innovations such as art, literature and music. “The distance between human and gorilla is 2.27%, the distances between human and Orangutans is 3.6%; the distance between human and gibbons is 4.76% and that the distance between the chimp and gorillas is 2.25%” (1).

Gorillas are knuckle walkers. The height of adult males ranges between 1.65m to 1.75m and their weight from 140 kilogram to 165kg. The majority of gorillas are covered with brown hair on their bodies. They have a large head with a bulging forehead, tiny ears, and small dark to brown eyes. They insist extreme sexual dimorphism, males being more twice than size of females. Gorilla social system is usually composed of single adult male with many females. . The relationship between female to female is very poor, their only link is that they like the same guy. Gorillas live in open canopy place in order for them to access vegetation. Gorilla eats vegetation such as leaves, fruits, shoots and stems. “Two species of gorilla share 97.7% with human and two species of orangutans 96.4 %”( 2).

Chimps found a little in western Africa and across the Equatorial belt in mid-Africa Chimpanzees (chimps) are knuckle-walkers and are terrestrial. The majority of primates walk on the flat on their hands, but chimps walk on their knuckles with their hand turned over. The forearms are longer than the hind limbs, and the bonobo has a short thumb. The average height of male chimpanzee varies from 0.66-1m with the weight from 26-50kg. The height of a female varies from 0.9-1.2m and the weight 35-70kg. They are covered with black hair on most of their body.). Chimps are mostly eating fruit but they also eat termites, ants, flowers, seeds, shoots, leaves, and bark and shrub level forest. Male tends to hunt. They will eat monkeys, antelopes, pig and anything catches able. They are usually hunted in groups. Most of the grooming bouts and instances of food sharing occur between males and females. In chimps females to female relationships is strong. People and Chimps have similar DNA (about 98% of human and chimpanzee DNA is identical) (3).

The majority of Orangutans are arboreal; this is clearly indicated by anatomically in the structure of their hips and shoulders. It is more like the climb around with hand Orangutans are too heavy to fling themselves. Sometimes they get down and walk from one tree to another. Orangutans also show size of dimorphism. Adult males are approximately 1.4m tall and up 82kg in weight. They are spending nearly most of all of their time on the trees, making a nest in the trees every night. Orangutans are really endangered. They are found in Sumutra and little on Borneo. Orangutans are also fruit eaters and they move slowly. However, they can able cover many territories in a year. Orangutans have little social organization. Sometimes female will copulate with immature males who do not have secondary sex characteristics. Sometimes young males rape females which are unusually in primates other than human (4).

Gibbons are small, slender, long armed and tree dwelling apes. They are arboreal. They are usually spending more of their time in trees. Gibbons have a small, round head, very long arm and short, slender body. They are covered by with light to dark brown colour in their bodies. They have hands which are similar like human. The height of males is approximately 90cm and weighs about 7kg. Gibbons are social animals that are active during the day. They live in small, stable family group consisting of a mated pair and their immature offspring.

The DNA of chimpanzees and human were found to be identical. Chimpanzees are closest relative of human. Orangutans are slightly less close phylogenetically. It is appear that chimps, gorilla, human, gibbons and orangutans make up the family Hominidae.


1. Myers, P. 2001. "Hominidae" [Internet], Animal Diversity Web. Accessed May 19, 2006. [Cited 2006 May 23, 11:11]. Available from:

2. Silverton J. Human’s closest relative [Internet], Animal Diversity Web. Accessed May 23, 2006. [Cited 2006 May 19, 12:17]. Available from:

3. Wakibara J.V. 2001. [Internet], Animal Diversity Web. Accessed May 23, 2006. [Cited 2006 May 19, 12:05]. Available from:

4. Wikepedia Contributors. Human, Free Encyclopedia [Internet] Accessed 2006, May 10, [Cited on 2006 May 11, 10:12] Available from:

5. Wikepedia Contributors.2006. Gorillas, Free Encyclopedia [Online] Accessed 2006, May 10, [Cited on 2006, May 11, 12:45] Available from:

6. Wikepedia Contributors.2006. Human, Free Encyclopedia [Online] Accessed 2006 May 10, [Cited on 2006 May 11 13:30], Available from:

7. Wikepedia Contributors.2006. Orangutans, Free Encyclopedia [Internet] Accessed 2006, May 10. [Cited on 2006 May 11 14:17], Available from:

Masiya Kedibone



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