Wondering Why?

Why do apes have no tails?

Many people think of apes as mammals that are closely related with monkeys.  Scientifically speaking, both apes and monkeys are part of the anthropoid family of mammals which belongs to a bigger group called hominids.  Based on characteristics and evolutional ancestry, the apes and monkeys are separated into different subfamilies or groups.  In terms of characteristics and appearance for example, monkeys have tails while all mammals classified as apes don’t.  The basic reason for this is that apes descended from a different group of mammals from that of the monkeys, although all are related in terms of animal classification.  Based on descendants alone, apes basically inherited the appearance and characteristics of hominids, and that is to possess no tails.  In fact, many people including the experts classify hominids or anthropoid animals based on their tails.  Orang-utans and gorillas for example have no tails and so are classified as apes.  Gibbons meanwhile belong to the monkey group because they have tails.

In terms of appearance and animal activity, apes are also known to be usually bigger than their monkey counterparts.  With the bigger size, apes won’t be able to carry their bodies when they are swinging from tree branches if they had tails.  On the other hand, the body of monkeys are smaller and slender similar to that of cats.  Their smaller bodies are perfect for their climbing activities with the help of their tails.

With the apes created with no tails, they are equipped with strong hands and feet.  Their limbs are specifically designed for grasping objects and tree branches for climbing and other activities.  With very able hands and feet, apes literally do not need tails to support their daily activities and chores.  Some monkey species on the other hands may not have the same gripping or grasping power as the apes and so they need their tails to assist them with their regular activities up in the trees.



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