Sunday Monkey Facts
This post is sponsored by SAASA and Monkeyland
Fun Facts about Gibons
Gibbons are not monkeys. They are part of the ape family and are classified as lesser apes because they are smaller than the great apes. The great apes are bonobos, chimpanzees, gorillas, humans, and orangutans. Gibbons are famous for the swift and graceful way they swing through the trees by their long arms. This method of locomotion is called brachiation. This way of moving makes gibbons the fastest ape. Their dramatic form of locomotion, called brachiating, can move gibbons through the jungle at up to 35 miles (56 kilometers) an hour, bridging gaps as wide as 50 feet (15 metres) with a single swinging leap.
When gibbons walk, whether along branches or in the rare instances when they descend to the ground, they often do so on two feet, throwing their arms above their head for balance. They are the most bipedal of all non-human primates and are often studied for clues to what evolutionary pressures may have led to human walking.
Unlike most primates, gibbons frequently form long-term pair bonds and sometimes mate for life. Monogamy is rare and is only seen in 5% of all mammals.
The not so fun fact about gibbons is that all 20 species are threatened by extinction. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) says the three greatest threats to their survival are palm oil production, logging, and the illegal trade in wildlife. These iconic tree dwellers are among the most threatened primates on Earth. Their habitat is disappearing at a rapid rate, and they are often captured and sold as pets or killed for use in traditional medicines.
Mated pairs, and even whole families, will sing long, complex songs together. They are most often heard in the early morning and may go on for half an hour or more. This morning ritual is usually initiated by the female, who is the head of the family group. Males and females have different calls.
Gibbons are arboreal, meaning they live exclusively in the trees. Unlike other ape species, gibbons do not make nests to sleep in. Instead, gibbons carefully choose sleeping trees that are large with strong, horizontal branches. Here they sleep in an upright position by tucking their knees up to their chests and wrapping their long arms around their bodies. To avoid sores, gibbons have evolved hard “seat pads” called ischial callosities on their buttocks.
More from SAASA and Monkeyland next week on Lets Go Big Tunes blog page