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Apes are classified in the Linnean System as follows:
- Kingdom Animalia (all animals)
- Phylum Chordata
- Subphylum Vertebrata (animals with backbones)
- Class Mammalia (warm-blooded animals with fur and mammary glands)
- Order Primates (which is comprised of 11 families, including lemurs, monkeys, marmosets, lesser apes, great apes, and humans)
- Suborder Haplorrhini
- Superfamily Homonoidea
- Family Hylobatidae (meaning "tree dweller" - the lesser apes, including gibbons and siamangs)
- Genus Hylobates (with 9 species of gibbons; since gibbons do not cross bodies of water, major rivers isolate each of the species.)
- Species H. agilus - the agile gibbon (or dark-handed gibbon)
- Species H. concolor - the crested gibbon (or the black gibbon or the white-cheeked gibbon)
- Species H. hoolock - the Hoolock gibbon
- Species H. klossii - Kloss' gibbon (or Mentawai gibbon)
- Species H. lar - the white-handed gibbon or the common gibbon (consisting of three subspecies)
- Species H. moloch - the Javan gibbon (or silvery gibbon, or white-browed gibbon)
- Species H. muelleri - the Bornean gibbon
- Species H. pileatus - the pileated gibbon (or capped gibbon)
- Species H. syndactylus - the Siamang (the biggest gibbon, with dark fur, an inflatable throat sac, and a very loud call)
- Family Hominidae (the great apes, including gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, and orangutans)
- Genus Pongo (orangutans)
- Genus Gorilla (gorillas)
- Species gorilla
- Subspecies G. g. gorilla - the western lowland gorilla (found in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Gabon, Congo, and Equatorial Guinea)
- Subspecies G. g. graueri - the eastern lowland gorilla (found in eastern Zaire)
- Subspecies G. g. beringei - the mountain gorilla (found in Zaire, Rwanda, and Uganda)
- Genus Pan (chimpanzees and bonobos)
- Species troglodytes - the Chimpanzee
- Subspecies P. t. verus - the western subspecies (found in Côte d'Ivoire, plus some small populations in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia).
- Subspecies P. t. troglodytes - the central subspecies (found mostly in Gabon, also from eastern Nigeria to the Ubanghi River and south to the Zaire River).
- Subspecies P. t. schweinfurthi - the eastern subspecies studied by Jane Goodall (found from southern Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania, and from there northwards to Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and southern Sudan).
- Species paniscus - the Bonobo or pygmy chimp, from Zaire, along the Zaire river.
- Genus Homo)
|A cladogram of the greater apes; a branching diagram that depicts species divergence from common ancestors.
THE EVOLUTION OF APES
The earliest-known primates date from about 70 million years ago (Macdonald, 1985). The greater apes (family Pongidae, gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, and orangutans) split off from the lesser apes (family Hylobatidae, gibbons and siamangs) 20 million years ago.
The chimpanzee is the animal that is closest to people genetically; people and chimps have very similar DNA (about 98% of human and chimpanzee DNA is identical). Genetic studies show that chimpanzees and humans share a common ancestor.
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