Facts on Apes for Kids

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Facts on Apes for Kids
Gorillas are the largest of the great apes. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Apes are wonderful creatures that fascinate children all over the world. They resemble humans, have a high level of intelligence and can form intimate relationships with humans. But there are also many different facts that most children don't know about apes.

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Types

Apes can be divided into two classifications: great apes and lesser apes. The great apes consist of gorillas, bonobos, orang-utans and chimpanzees while the lesser apes are made up of gibbons and siamangs.

Location

A long time ago, apes covered vast amounts of territory in both Africa and Asia. However, because of poaching and encroachment on ape lands by humans, the number of apes in the world has greatly dwindled. Now, apes are located in small areas of both Africa and Asia. Gorillas, bonobos and chimpanzees are all indigenous to Africa, while orang-utans, gibbons and siamangs are found in Southeast Asia.

Physical Features

Apes look very similar to humans. That is probably why they fascinate children so much. But apes also have many distinguishing features. For example, apes have hands and feet that are both able to grasp objects. Another interesting fact is that apes have arms that are longer than their legs. This distinction allows apes to comfortably walk on all fours, using their knuckles.

Intelligence

Apes have been known to show a very high level of intelligence. Researchers have taught apes a special sign language that allows them to communicate with humans and other apes. Some apes have been able to learn and use more than 1,000 signs. In addition to learning sign language, some apes have shown a high level of intelligence when it comes to making tools, such as spears and shovels, for finding food.

Distinguishing Features

Sometimes, kids use the term "apes" and "monkeys" interchangeably. But apes are not monkeys and there are many differences between them. Apes are larger, have a longer lifespan and a higher intelligence. There is an even easier way to distinguish apes from monkeys: apes do not have tails while monkeys do.

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