The great apes are the nearest living relative to man. There are four species of great ape: the orangutan, chimpanzee, gorilla and the gibbon. Chimpanzees are particularly brainy and are one of the few animals to actually use tools. Apes generally walk on all fours but are able to stand and walk on two feet just like humans. Apes also have fingers and thumbs like a human hand, which makes them able to pick up and hold things as we do. The hair on an ape’s head also turns grey with age as with humans. Baby gorillas, like human babies, learn to crawl at about ten weeks and walk at about eight months old.




So are monkeys different from other primates?

All monkeys are primates. It is easy to tell them apart from the clever primates, people and apes, because they have tails. Their tails, which are generally long, can be used like an extra arm or leg to cling onto branches. A spider-monkey, from South America, can actually hang by its strong tail leaving both hands free for feeding. They live in family groups and spend much of their time in the trees. They are very careful to around them before leaping from one tree to another as there could be danger close by. A large eagle may swoop from above or possibly a leopard could be lurking below so it is important not to lose their footing.



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