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4. Typical Characteristics


Gibbons exhibit a number of primitive characteristics which they share with the Cercopithecoidea, whereas in some other characteristics they are the most derived of all the modern Hominoidea (for instance in their limb proportions).

Skulls of various recent members of the Hominoidea

Figure 4.1. Skulls of various recent members of the Hominoidea (Hylobates: unknown sex, Pongo and Gorilla: males, Pan and Homo: females). Note the pronounced supra-structures (nuchal- and sagittal crests) in the male skulls, especially in Gorilla. All skulls were brought to approximately the same size of the cranial vault (Hylobates after Schultz, 1944, p. 88; Pongo after Schultz, 1941, p. 99; Gorilla und Homo after Schultz, 1972, pp. 126 and 127; Pan after Schultz, 1940, p. 52).


Feet and hands of Hominoidea

Figure 4.2. Feet (left) and hands (right) of Hominoidea members (after Biegert, 1963, pp. 3/261, 268, 280, and Biegert, 1973, p. 171). Note the extension of the phalanges and the basal separation of first digit in the gibbon (Hylobates), as well as the reduction of the first digit in the orangutan (Pongo).