What Are the Different Types of Apes?

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The different types of apes are gibbons, gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees and bonobos, explains HowStuffWorks. In addition, due to recent discoveries in genetics, humans are usually listed in the classification of hominidae, or great apes.

In the suborder of primates in the animal kingdom, apes are distinguished from other primates mainly by their lack of tails. All primates have eyes that face forward and flexible fingers, arms and legs, but apes also have different molar teeth for grinding food, appendixes and are more intelligent, using learned behavior for survival. The hylobatidae, or lesser apes, include all the species of gibbon. They are smaller and lighter than great apes. Their usual method of locomotion is brachiation, or swinging by their arms in tree branches, but they are also able to walk as bipeds, on two feet, either on branches or on the ground.

The hominidae family, known as great apes, includes gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees, bonobos and humans. The largest of the great apes, gorillas, found only in isolated parts of Africa, are terrestrial. They are also quadrupedal, walking on their feet and knuckles instead of upright. Chimpanzees are also native to Africa but are more widespread than gorillas. They are comfortable either in trees or on the ground. When on the ground, they walk on feet and knuckles like gorillas. Though sometimes bonobos are referred to as pygmy chimpanzees, they are a distinct species. They are smaller, slimmer and less aggressive than chimpanzees. The large Asian apes, orangutans, are tree-dwelling, but often must walk from tree to tree because they are too large to swing between them.