Difference Between Ape and Man

It is a well-known fact that we, humans, and apes have originated from common ancestors, millions of years ago. As a result of evolution, several differences in our common ancestral behavioural aspects occurred. It was mostly influenced by nature, which ultimately led to the complete segregation of our common ancestors to specifically humans and apes. Apes are our closest living relatives since anatomically, we are almost similar. We belong to the category of more evolved apes along with chimpanzees, orang-utans, and gorillas. We are just modified ones. There is a separate category of lesser apes including gibbons and siamangs.

It does not mean that we have any similarity with monkeys, despite both being primates. The major difference between monkeys and apes (along with humans) is that monkeys have tails, but apes do not.

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Difference Between Apes and Humans

There are various differences between apes and humans and some of these are very visible. The differences between apes and humans are tabulated as follows.



The cranial capacity of apes ranges from 400cc-600cc.

Humans have an average cranial capacity of around 1400cc-1500cc.

Apes generally have a slanting forehead and flat nose.

Humans have a high forehead and elevated nose.

They do not have a chin.

They have a chin which is very much noticeable.

Apes have heavy and protruded eyebrow ridges.

Humans have inconspicuous eyebrow ridges.

Diastema (the gap between upper incisors) can be seen in most apes.

Diastema is not present in humans.

Apes have longer arms as compared to their legs which can reach below knees.

Humans have shorter arms as compared to their legs which are not long enough to reach their knees.

Having a C-shaped spine is common in apes.

Having, an S-shaped spine is common in humans.

Apes have opposable hallux (great toes) and they can move it laterally.

Humans have non-opposable hallux and lateral movement is restricted.

Apes do not have various languages like human beings.

Humans have numerous languages to communicate among themselves.

Quadrupedal locomotion(moving with the help of both legs and hands) is common in apes.

Bipedal locomotion (moving with the help of only two legs) is common in humans.

There are very few apes who can make simple tools and can employ them.

Humans can make tools of greater complexity and can employ them.

Apes cannot walk upright.

Humans can walk upright.

The volume of the brain is less with a small cranium.

The volume of the brain is comparatively more in humans and they have big cranium.

Apes have large jaws.

Humans have small jaws.

Apes have a narrow pelvic girdle.

Humans have broad and flattened pelvic girdle.

Apes have a V-shaped dental arch. 

Humans have a crescent-shaped dental arch.

Humans and apes along with their differences, share some similarities too. The similarities are discussed below.

Similarities Between Apes and Humans

The similarities between apes and humans are as follows.

  1. Apes have bones and muscles similar to humans. Their nervous system works in the same manner as it does in humans.

  2. Humans and apes have the same number of fingers and toes.

  3. The structure of the human female uterus is somewhat similar to a female ape.

  4. Both humans and apes have an almost similar lifespan.

  5. Opposable thumbs are something that humans and apes, both of them have in common.

  6. Although not identical, apes have blood types similar to the human ABO blood group system.

  7. Both female apes and female humans have regular menstrual cycles.

Therefore, these are some of the similarities between apes and humans.

Did You Know?

Chimpanzees share about 98.6% of our DNA. Genetically, they are closest to us than any other primates. You will be surprised to know that they too have emotions, intelligence, and sentiments like us. However, the expansion of the neocortex which happened during primate evolution, contributed a higher cognitive capacity to humans as compared to the other great apes, specifically the chimpanzees. However, assuming that humans did not evolve from chimpanzees would be incorrect. During evolution, while one of the ancestral lines evolved to become the modern chimpanzees, the other line evolved into the form of early humans and eventually, resulted in Homo sapiens, which is the present us. That is why we share somewhat similar physical features due to common ancestry.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are apes? How many categories of apes are there?

Apes are tailless primates who belong to the superfamily Hominoidea, which further divides into the family Hylobatidae which comprises gibbons, and the family Hominidae which includes chimpanzees, orangutans, gorillas, and human beings. They are found in the tropical forests of Africa and Southeast Asia.

There are mainly two categories of apes and they are discussed as follows.

Great Apes- As mentioned earlier, gorilla, chimpanzee, bonobo, and orangutan belong to the category of great apes. They are large and have human-like features. They can do abstract reasoning and learn quasi-linguistic communication, only when taught by humans. They have the capability of recognizing themselves when they see a mirror, which other organisms cannot easily do.

Lesser apes- Gibbons, and siamangs belong to the category of lesser apes. They are found in the subtropical and tropical rainforest of eastern Bangladesh, Northeast India, southern China, and Indonesia. They are comparatively smaller than great apes in terms of size.

2. What is the difference between monkeys and apes?

It is common for people to get confused between a monkey and an ape because of their almost similar physical appearance. There is no doubt that both of them are primates and are a part of the same primate suborder, as had been proved years ago.

However, they are not the same. Monkeys possess a tail, while apes do not. Also, monkeys do not have an appendix, but apes do have an appendix. In addition, since apes are closely related to humans, they exhibit human-like behaviour, unlike monkeys.