Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Lisa M. Paciulli & Jamie L. Neary
Gibbons are members of the order Primates, family Hylobatidae, and genus Hylobates . They are most notably known for their unique vocalizations and long arm spans, which can reach twice the length of their bodies. Slender and agile, gibbons usually locomote using their long arms in a movement known as brachiation . Their hands, equipped with long, curved, and slender digits, are used as hooks as they swing from tree branch to tree branch. Some of the smaller species appear to throw themselves from tree to tree, crossing gaps of 10 meters or more. While feeding, however, gibbons often use quadrumanous climbing. Gibbons are considered to be a “lesser ape.” Like all apes, they are characterized by an absence of tails, broad chests, and an upright body posture. However, unlike the great apes (chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans), they have smaller cranial capacities and body sizes. In addition, they are ...