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Anatomy of Apes

Study of the anatomy of apes, terminology, behaviour, etc.The study involves the analysis of the features, origin, terminology, etc of the apes.

The anatomy of apes is a field of study that discusses the structure of apes revealed by the dissection.

  • In this part, we give a rundown of the similar life structures of humans and different primates. 

Their study helps us understand the process of evolution of human species.

  • The comparative study of the anatomy of apes and humans provides an in-depth understanding about how we differ from them.

Apes: the primates

Apes are part of a catarrhine clade, also referred to as Old World Monkeys.

  • The term “apes” is for tailless primates. Also note, it is not identical to the taxon Hominoidea.


  • Except for gorillas and people, hominoids are coordinated tree climbers.
  • Primates eat a variety of foods which include natural products, leaves, stalks, roots, etc.
  • Human eating habits are not the same as that of different hominids due to the advancement of innovation. 
  • Humans are the most variant hominid species, dwarfing any primates.

Scientific classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Infraorder : Simiiformes
  • Order: Primates
  • Parvorder: Catarrhini
  • Suborder: Haplorhini
  • Superfamily: Hominoidea
  • Sister : Cercopithecoidea

Primates fall into the category of strepsirrhines and haplorhines. 

  • Strepsirrhines are the lemurs, galagos, and lorisidae, while haplorhines are the tarsiers and the simians.
  • Simians refer to the platyrrhines, or New World monkeys. The catarrhines are Old World monkeys and gorillas. 

Forty million years ago, simians from Africa moved to South America which led to the five groups of New World monkeys. 

Simians separated into gorillas and Old World monkeys around 25 million years ago.


  • Apes, from Old English apa, is an expression of dubious origin. 
  • The term has a past filled with uncertain use. 
  • Its earliest importance was for most any non-human humanoid primate. 
  • After the word “monkey” came to English, “apes” was confined for the tailless primate. 
  • Grey (1824) introduced the term hominins, intended as including the human lineage. 

How are apes different from us?

With the advancement in evolutionary studies, we are to look upon the comparative anatomy of apes and see how they differ from humans. 

  1. Skull

The skulls present many differentiating elements, for example,


  • The skull evolved in the front-facing area.
  • The brow broadens upward, vertically.
  • The supra-orbital is not developed. 
  • The sagittal peak was unavailable.
  • Melded maxilla and premaxilla. 
  • Arranged Foramen Magnum at the focal point. 
  • An even head.
  • Perfect vertical face. 


  • Less evolved temples. 
  • Reverse inclined head.
  • Developed Supraorbital. 
  • A sagittal peak was available.
  • Reverse foramen magnum thus the essence of gorillas hangs downwards.
  1. Mandible


  • Man’s lower jaw is smaller in size, compared to primates. 
  • The muscle liable for the lower jaw’s development is frail. 
  • An all-around created jawline. 
  • Prognathism is missing. 


  • Gigantic lower jaw. 
  • Jawline is absent.
  • Muscles for the development of the lower jaw are solid. 
  • Facial prognathism.
  1. Teeth


  • More modest in size than those of gorillas. 
  • Canines don’t project forward past the degree of different teeth. 
  • Side-to-side biting movement, known as turning movement. 
  • The dental curve takes the state of the parabola. 


  • The dental curve is U formed. 
  • Huge-sized teeth.
  • Canines project past the degree of different teeth. 
  • When primates shut their jaws, the canines interlock. 
  • This biting action forestalls the horizontal development.
  • Up-down biting movement is possible.
  1. Nose


  • The nose is more evolved. 
  • The root and scaffold have a stamped rise. 
  • The tip is thick.
  • Evolved nasal wings.


  • Downward pointing and large nostrils.
  • The rise is present close to the root and extension is almost missing. 
  • The tip of the nose is inadequate.
  • Wide and raised cartilaginous.
  1. Lips


  • The upper lip shows a middle wrinkle. 
  • Begins from the nasal septum and goes up to the end of the membranous lip.
  •  The middle wrinkle is the quality component of Man.


  • The lips are over their swelling jaws. 
  • Free and protrusive.
  • The fat content of the integumental lip is low. 
  1. Arms


  • The lower arm is a versatile switch and henceforth abbreviated.
  • The length of the legs is longer than the length of the arms. 


  • Lengthened arms. 
  • Variation for hanging and strolling in branches. 
  • Upper arms go as portable switches and thus are shorter in length. 
  1. Legs


  • Long, thin, and extended femur. 
  • The edges for muscle advancement are more evolved.
  • Attributing the Linea Aspera, an unpleasant edge on the rear of the femur.
  • Erect stance and the bipedal step.


  • The high bone is short, thick, and bent.
  • Quadrupedal velocity (moving with the two legs and hands) is normal.
  1. Foot


  • Striking changes in the foot because of its new method of velocity. 
  • The foot upholds the body’s weight.
  • Helps in strolling and standing upright.
  • Decreasing parallel toes in size.
  •  The fifth toe is simple.
  • The extraordinary toe in man isn’t opposable.


  • The foot is utilised both for headway and getting a handle on the tree limbs.
  1. Cerebrum


  • Exceptionally created.
  • The front-facing district of the mind is particularly evolved. 
  • The cerebral cortex is more advanced than gorillas.
  • The mind is the biggest going from 1300 to 1450 cc. 


  • The normal cranial limit of the 
  • gorilla- is 549 cc.
  •  chimpanzee- 400 cc.
  •  orangutan- 416 cc.
  •   gibbon- 98 cc. 
  1. Discourse
  • Man is recognized from the gorillas by his capacity of articulating discourse. 
  • Yet, there are a few researchers who have felt some kind of language among gorillas.


The above section includes the anatomy of apes. We have discussed the criteria about how we differ from the apes and provided the anatomy of apes notes. Also, the study included terminology, behaviour, of apes for a better understanding of their anatomy. 


Frequently asked questions

Get answers to the most common queries related to the UPSC Examination Preparation.

1. What is anatomy?

It is the part of science investigating the construction of humans, creatures, and the division of parts....Read full

2. What are primates?

A primate is any warm-blooded creature such as lemurs, lorises, tarsiers, and people.

3. Are apes the ancestors of humans?

No, humans are one kind of a few living types of apes. People developed close by orangutans, chimpanzees, bonobos, a...Read full

4. Did humans have a tail?

Yes, for a short period during our early-stage advancement. The tail is articulated at around day 31 to 35 of develo...Read full

5. Are chimpanzees and monkeys the same?

No, most primates fall into two classifications: extraordinary chimps and monkeys. ...Read full