If I had to pick a favorite family of primates it would hands-down be pongidae. This family is going to include all of the great apes, except humans, because we like to think we are special when in reality we really just aren’t. Pongidae are true great apes. These primate have no tails, no claws (just nails), flat noses, and incredible amounts of tool use.

Chimpanzees by Geoffrey Oddie
Chimpanzees by Geoffrey Oddie

Pongidae includes chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, and of course, orangutans. There tends to be sexual dimorphism between the species in pongidae. This means that the males and the females are going to look a bit different, most likely its going to be that the males are going to be bigger than the females.

All members of the family pongidae are found in Africa, except for the orangutan which is found in South East Asia. They are pretty special great apes… but I digress. Pongidae members are omnivorous and chimpanzees are even known to perform coordinated hunts using spears they have made themselves.

All but the orangutan live in large, social groups with well defined territories. See what I mean about special? What isn’t special about the only arboreal, only Asiatic, only solitary, great ape?!

We are most closely related to chimpanzees and bonobos. Actually we are more genetically similar to a chimp than a chimp is to a gorilla. I remember when I was taught that. It really puts into perspective how similar we are.


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