Interesting Facts about Apes

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When Darwin presented his first theories on evolution and that human beings evolved from apes, it created a stir worldwide in the 19th century breaking several notions and beliefs propagated by the Church about the birth of mankind. Since then, apes have always drawn attention of scientists, especially due to the fact that they look so similar to human beings. Apes are primates just like human beings are. The four kinds of Great apes that can be found in the present day are orang-utans, gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos while the lesser apes include baboons, gibbons, lemurs, monkeys etc. Most of these apes are found in Africa.

Some of the interesting facts about Apes are:

  • One can find approximately 700 mountain gorillas on Earth in the present day. Half of these can be found in the jungles and forests of Virunga Mountains in Central Africa.

  • Gorillas are capable of climbing trees. Most of the gorilla communities are found on the ground in groups of about 30.

  • Apes too have their own social structures and ways of living which are quite interesting to learn about. Ape groups are known as troops and they have a dominant adult male along with the presence of younger males, females and offsprings.

  • Gorillas are known to be non-aggressive creatures with a generally calm disposition unless otherwise harmed and disturbed.

  • Gorillas are also kept in captivity in many places and are known to have displayed significant intelligence levels. They have even learnt to sign in human sign language communicating with them.

  • Some species of apes can grow as tall as 5.5 feet and weigh as heavy as 400 pounds.

  • M.C Cooper and Ernest B Schoedsack’s film named King Kong in 1993 was the first to introduce apes in the movies. King Kong in the movie was portrayed as terrifying yet a loving creature and even a ladies man. Remakes of the film were made in 1976 and once again in 2005.

  • There also exist famous apes in history. In 1961, Ham was the first Ape that was sent to space and trained to perform tasks in a spaceship while it was within the orbit.

  • King of Pop music, Michael Jackson had a pet chimpanzee named Bubbles for many years. He continued on tours with Michael Jackson until he developed aggressive behaviour and was then sent to live in Florida sanctuary.

  • Apes make facial expressions that look very similar to what we humans make which is fascinating to look at but their expressions do not all mean the same. For example, what may appear as a smiling chimpanzee may actually be an ape very scared and baring his teeth in fear.

  • Popular culture and movies have helped to break several misconceptions about apes. They have been portrayed as misunderstood creatures that feel threatened and vulnerable by humans and prefer to be left alone.

Human activities are causing many species of apes to become endangered. If care is not taken, they might soon become extinct. Conservation initiatives are being taken in some parts of the world to help a steady growth in their numbers but they continue to face threats caused by humans through poaching, habitat loss, pollution and others.

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