Great Apes

Great Apes: Orangutan, Bonobo, Gorilla, Chimpanzee

There are four kinds of great apes: gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans. Only the orangutan comes from Asia; the others all come from Africa.





Lowland Gorilla





  • Bonobos and people share 98.4% of the same genetic make-up (DNA).

  • The Bonobo has highly individuated facial features, as humans do, so that one individual can look significantly different from another.

  • Bonobos live only in one country: the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).


  • Chimpanzees and people share 98.7% of the same genetic make-up (DNA).

  • Chimpanzees usually walk on all four limbs, although they can walk upright for short distances.

  • Chimpanzees often use “tools” (rocks, twigs, etc.) to crack open nuts, dip into holes for ants, spear small animals for food, etc.


  • To show anger, a gorilla curls its fingers.

  • Gorillas, the largest of the living primates, are ground-dwelling omnivores that inhabit the forests of Africa.

  • Gorillas knuckle-walk using both their legs and their long arms (putting pressure on their knuckles, with the fingers rolled into the hand). Gorillas rarely walk using only their legs.


  • Indigenous peoples of Indonesia and Malaysia call this ape “Orang Hutan” literally translating into English as “People of the Forest.”

  • Orangutans share 97% of the same DNA as humans.

  • Orangutans are very graceful and agile while climbing through the trees but somewhat slow and awkward when walking on the ground.