Leave It To The Apes

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Apes also have larger brains than monkeys, and they are capable of using tools and learning language. Just like their classifications suggest, great apes are large, while lesser apes are small. Gorillas , the largest of the apes, typically are about 4. Mountain gorillas, though, can grow to 6 feet tall and weigh to lbs. Orangutans are the world's largest tree-dwelling animal. They grow to 4 to 4. Gibbons and siamangs are much smaller than great apes. They typically weigh around 9 to 28 lbs. Siamangs grow to The habitats of great apes and lesser apes are very limited.

The great apes live in Africa and Asia, according to the National Zoo. They tend to live in jungles, mountainous areas and savannas. Lesser apes live in Asia in evergreen tropical rainforests and monsoon forests. Siamangs prefer to live 80 to feet 25 to 30 m in the air in the trees found in Malaysia and Indonesia.


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A group of apes is called a tribe or a shrewdness. All apes are very social. Gibbons, for example, live in small family groups of two to six individuals. Siamangs are so close that they almost never wander more than 30 feet 10 m apart, according to the San Diego Zoo. Gorillas live in family groups that can include as many as 30 members. Chimpanzees are the most social of all the apes, and live in communities with 15 to individuals.

During the day ape families eat, play and protect each other.

Leave It To The Apes Quotes

At night they sleep in nests made from branches or foliage on the ground or in trees. Gibbons are monogamous, which is very rare in the animal kingdom. Apes are herbivores for the most part, but they also may eat small animals or bugs to supplement their diet. Gibbons, for example, eat mostly fruit, but they also munch on leaves, flowers and insects. This aloofness from other troops prevents high concentrations of individuals which could result in rapid depletion of local resources. Communities usually avoid each other and are aggressive towards outsiders.

As a result, social interactions between members of different troops are usually very rare, especially for females.

Chimpanzees are a notable exception. When chimpanzees from different troops come together, there is often an exciting, friendly encounter lasting several hours, following which, some of the adult females switch groups. Apparently, they are seeking new mates. Occasionally, however, contact between communities of the comparatively unpredictable chimpanzees will develop into genocidal violence.

Interactions within non-human primate communities are usually unlimited. Subgroups are rarely closed from group interaction. All members of a community have daily face to face, casual communication. The most common type of subgroup consists of a mother and her young offspring. In some forest living primates, contact between groups of the same species is in the form of a specialized territorial defense behavior.

Instead of avoiding each other, groups actively converge near their common territorial border and make hostile displays. Howler monkeys, indris, siamangs, and gibbons all produce exceptionally loud vocalizations for this purpose. This is a ritualized, essentially harmless form of aggression that is intended to intimidate members of the neighboring community.

All four of these species live in home ranges that are usually so small that the food resources of neighboring territories can be seen and become attractive. Non-human Primate Social Group Composition. While there is considerable variation in social group composition among the primates, there is very little variability within each species.

In fact, most non-human primate species are limited to only one of the following six basic patterns:. However, each human society usually defines one of them as being acceptable and condemns the others. Only the multimale-multifemale group pattern is not normally found in any human society. Single Female and Her Offspring.

The single female and her offspring group pattern is rare for primates but common for other mammals. It is found among the orangutans and some of the small nocturnal prosimians e.


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  • The adult males lead their lives mostly alone. However, they come together with females occasionally for mating. The males of these species generally have large territories that overlap those of several females. Both male and female children usually leave their mother when they reach sexual maturity.

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    Monogamous groups consist of an adult male and female with their children. When they are grown, the children leave to create their own nuclear families. While this group pattern is the most common one for humans, it is rare for non-human primates. It is found among the small Asian apes as well as some of the New World monkeys and prosimians. Specifically, monogamous family groups are the common pattern for gibbons, siamangs, titi monkeys, indris, tarsiers, and apparently some pottos. Polyandrous Family Group. The smallest New World monkeys, the marmosets and tamarins, form both monogamous and polyandrous family units.

    They generally start with a monogamous mating pair. Later, a second adult male may join the family and assist in child rearing. When this occurs, both adult males will potentially mate with the adult female. This arrangement is practical because these monkeys commonly have twins and the fathers carry the babies around on their backs most of the time.

    This polyandrous mating pattern is extremely rare among non-human primates but does occur in some human societies in isolated rural regions of India, Sri Lanka, and especially Nepal, and Tibet. One-male-several-female groups have polygynous mating patterns. That is to say, one male regularly mates and lives with more than one female at a time.

    Polygyny is generally not a promiscuous mating pattern. Rather, the male and his female mates form a distinct mating and child rearing group. This pattern is found among hamadryas baboons, geladas, langurs, howler monkeys, gorillas and many human societies. It has been a culturally preferred marriage pattern in numerous Native American, African, and South Asian cultures. However, polygyny is not as common among humans as monogamy, even in cultures that advocate it.

    It would be a mistake to automatically assume that non-human primate one-male-several-female groups are dominated by males. Among geladas, females largely control the social group. This is despite the fact that the males are larger, stronger, and more aggressive. Mothers, sisters, and aunts act as a team in chasing off other unrelated females.

    They also collectively select their mutual mate among a number of potential suitors roaming in and out of their territory. The male that is chosen usually is one that does not act abusively towards them and is willing to cooperate with them in defending their territory.

    The relationship with any particular male may be short-term. The stable core of the community is the group of related females. This is a long way from stereotypical male domination. One-male-several female groups may take a different form when predator pressure is a problem. In open grasslands, hamadryas baboon communities are much larger, usually consisting of a number of polygynous families. In such multiple one-male-several-female group societies, males are the dominant, controlling members.

    The adult males not only "herd" their own sexually mature females, but also maintain order and protect the community from predators. This is not unlike the traditional Arab polygynous marriage pattern in which wealthy men acquire harems. In contrast, gorillas rarely have to be concerned about predator dangers. Subsequently, their communities usually consist of a single dominant adult male, his mates, and their children. When males reach maturity, they usually are driven off by the dominant silverback male.

    These exiled males ultimately form their own one-male-several-female groups. As females reach sexual maturity, they also leave their natal families and disperse. They later join with single males to form new families or they join the families of males who already have mates. When the silver back males have unusually peaceful personalities, the gorilla community may have several of them. As they age, the saddles become larger and eventually cover most of their backs. Multimale-Multifemale Group. The most common social group pattern among semi-terrestrial primates is the multimale-multifemale group.

    With this pattern, there are no stable heterosexual bonds--both males and females have a number of different mates. This is characteristic of savanna baboons, macaques, as well as some colobus and New World monkey species. Multimale-multifemale groups commonly have a dominance hierarchy among both males and females. Each individual is ranked relative to all other community members of the same gender.

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    This tends to reduce serious violence within the community since everyone knows in advance who they must defer to and who must be submissive to them. Among rhesus macaques, one's position in the dominance hierarchy is determined by the rank of his or her mother. The top ranking individuals are referred to by primatologists as the alpha male and the alpha female. All other community members defer to them.

    Leave It To The Apes Quotes by M.B. Watson

    A female's rank in the hierarchy stays with her throughout life. However, most young adult male rhesus macaques leave their natal community and ultimately join others to find mates. When they do so, they start at the bottom of the male dominance hierarchy again. Alpha males usually mate more often than others. This makes the social organization superficially look like one-male-several-female group.

    However, younger females often sneak off to mate with males lower down on the dominance hierarchy. The stable core of rhesus macaque communities is the group of female relatives. They stay within their natal community throughout life and work as a team to defend it against other females.

    Advancing up the male dominance hierarchy in baboon communities is comparatively less peaceful than among macaques.

    Adult male baboons must constantly face challenges from other males who would take away their mates. These confrontations are usually noisy and violent. The fights often result in serious injuries caused by their exceptionally long canine teeth. The higher a male ascends the dominance hierarchy, the more challenges he must answer. As a consequence, alpha males are often under greater physical and psychological stress than lower ranked ones.