great ape


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great ape (plural great apes)

  1. (archaic) A large non-human primate, such as a gorilla, an orangutan, or a chimpanzee. [to late 19C]
  2. Any member of the taxonomic family Hominidae, including gorilla, orangutan, chimpanzee, excluding Homo.
    • 2005, Richard Dawkins, The Ancestor's Tale, page 114:
      Long before people thought in terms of evolution [] great apes were often confused with humans.
  3. Any member of the taxonomic family Hominidae, including Homo, and also many similar extinct species.
    • 2014, Laurel Braitman, Animal Madness: How Anxious Dogs, Compulsive Parrots, and Elephants in Recovery Help Us Understand Ourselves:
      This wrinkled layer of gray matter that's highly developed in humans and other great apes, as well as whales, dolphins, and elephants, helps coordinate complex cognitive processes.

Usage notesEdit

All extant members of the Hominidae are known to have a mostly hairless face, hands with complex fingerprints, and flat fingernails. Fossil species have other morphological similarities. The DNA and other chemical markers now used to establish evolutionary relationships confirm the close relationship among great apes.





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