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
Apes and humans, commonly referred to as hominoids, are a closely related group of primates classified together in their own superfamily, the Hominoidea. The living hominoids are subdivided into two families, the Hylobatidae and the Hominidae (see table). The hylobatids or lesser apes (belonging to a single genus, Hylobates ) are represented by 11 or so species found throughout Southeast Asia. Humans and the great apes—the orangutan ( Pongo pygmaeus ), the gorilla ( Gorilla gorilla ), the common chimpanzee ( Pan troglodytes ), and the pygmy chimpanzee or bonobo ( Pan paniscus )—are grouped together in the Hominidae. In the past, the great apes were included in a separate family, the Pongidae, but recent anatomical and molecular studies have shown that the African apes ( Gorilla and Pan ) are more closely related to humans than they are to the Asian orangutan. The revised taxonomy better reflects, therefore, the ...