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Great Ape Size Chart

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By Harry-the-Fox   |   
© 2012 - 2020 Harry-the-Fox
Finally here!

A size comparison chart for the Great Apes!
(and yes that includes us).

Basically, a bit of a response to the outlandishly disproportionate ape sizes in many movies (not mentioning any names) showing gargantuan-sized CGI/prop gorillas, or the lesser evil, implying some very small chimpanzee proportions with trained juvenile chimpanzees (being easier to work with and less dangerous).
(don't get me started on the false depictions of their aggression or intelligence- I could go on all day)

A bit of extra info (and any discrepancies):

Overall, great apes are incredibly strong for their size (humans being the least so)- for non-human great apes, the minimum being pound-for-pound twice as strong as a human of matching weight in chimpanzees and bonobos, and further in Orangutans and Gorillas. This is both due to some genetic differences that enhance muscular strength (humans however enjoy the reverse- more endurance to be constantly active)- and of course the simple fact that most of any great ape's muscles are simply larger, and so are many of their bones (especially their joints)- especially on the upper body area. In other words, they're simply 'bigger' than us where it counts.

None of these sizes depicted would necessarily be the limit any of the apes would grow to (considerably larger specimens show up now and again- but then again, so do giant humans!)- but is closer to the typical size.

Aggression-wise, most apes are very placid. Strangely, the most aggressive apes are our immediate 'tribe'- humans and chimpanzees (though this varies immensely between communities, as obviously, many of both are very placid also). Also note that many photos of apes flashing their teeth could well be images of them yawning, sneezing etc.

Individual groups.

Humans- we are ourselves great apes- in fact, we actually share a specific ape niche (tribe) with Chimps and Bonobos that no other great ape shares. Compared to this, gorillas are a completely separate (tribe) group, and orangutans are a complely different sub-family! Each of these apes are more closely related to each other than gorillas.

Gorillas- actually a lot shorter than people think; standing upright, most silverback gorillas' eye-height would barely reach a human's chin. Their great size however is in their wider, thicker body, head and arms- easily weighing well over twice that of a heavy man. Their 'hump' is mostly muscle- common in animals with powerful jaws needed for hard chewing (they mostly eat tough plant matter).

Orangutans- our most distant relative among the great apes and the only great ape that indigenous to Asia rather than Africa; Those baggy throats you may see in some are to allow them to call over great distances (handy for a solitary animal). Note the shaggy coat is misleading- Orangutans' limbs are actually quite slender for its size (though still much thicker than human limbs, and possibly slightly thicker than very large chimpanzee).

Chimpanzees; Chimpanzees have a wide range of sizes; typically they can reach almost 3 feet- but can grow to man-sized at about 4 feet, and sometimes larger at about 5. Note the deceptively shaggy coat hides chimpanzee limbs are a fairly consistent thickness from body to hand- and slightly thicker than those of a human's arm overall. This size is generally the larger typical sizes of most of the larger groups.

Bonobos: allegedly not a chimpanzee, but share the same genus (Pan). Sometimes called pigmy chimpanzees, their size does overlap many typical (albiet smaller) chimpanzee species. Typically the largest sizes associated with Bonobos is 3 feet in height- and though I have seen some photos of some very large, stocky bonobos near people, I decided to simply depict the typical specified measurement. Bonobos are strangely very non-aggressive Pan apes- using sex to solve disputes rather than violence.

Bili Apes (chimpanzees): Little information is known so far, except the following- that they are in fact chimpanzees; gene tests indicate they belong to an existing species of chimpanzee with very little genetic difference- however they bear some slight anatomical differences with regular chimpanzees. Size- mostly the same as larger chimpanzees; but some evidence suggests slightly larger- along with one 30cm footprint and some skulls found to be larger than those of chimpanzee skulls.
Note that at these proportions, it is still significantly smaller than a gorilla due to a more gracile build- also, a gorilla's footprints are much shorter- but this is merely because their feet are short and broad, while chimpanzee feet are very slender and long relative to body size. At the moment it cannot be certain how large they actually grow. For the sake of scale regarding the possibility that this ape grew to larger sizes, it has been depicted at 5 feet tall- which isn't too unusual among larger chimpanzee populations.

Well, for design of this chart- all these apes have been recreated from numerous photographs of live apes, skeletons, anatomy charts available, and checked in proportion using a custom ruler tool I programmed into photoshop (easy to do). I may need to tweak a few minor details, but these should be roughly proportionate (as well as compared to inter-body proportions, as well as proportions compared to a human- particularly skull size).

Hope you like it!
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anonymous's avatar
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Pootisman90's avatar
Stupid question, given that it's not about the apes themselves, but if chimps and bili apes had both appeared in The Lion King, what role would they have in the film? I know, is stupid, but I always wondered it after finding out about the existance of 'lion-eating chimps'.
Harry-the-Fox's avatar
Harry-the-FoxProfessional Digital Artist

Probably a similar role as the Hyenas. That said, I'm not quite sure the Bili Apes are as powerful as ferocious as claimed, as they're still vastly smaller than a normal gorilla (and a lion for that matter). Wouldn't be surprised if they could bigger than the average man though.

Pootisman90's avatar
In my head I picture chimps as the 'good' equivalent of hyenas, followers of Mufasa that, while ferocious, are good deep down (and because just like in the films we wouldn't see them hunt, and because gorillas, who make more sense, live either in jungles or mountains), whereas bili apes would be Scar's 'Uruk-hai', stronger than hyenas, just as savage, and utterly loyal to him.
Harry-the-Fox's avatar
Harry-the-FoxProfessional Digital Artist

Alas, Bili Apes are actually extremely shy and cautious as far as chimps go. Normal chimps are more likely to attack people than Bilis. The guy who revealed them to the world described two distinctly different behaviours by Bili Apes, based on their proximity to humans. The ones who lived closer fled in terror at the sight of a human (locals eat them), the ones that have never seen a human before just... kinda have mild interest, some would walk up to the team and look at them before losing interest.

Pootisman90's avatar
Oh... Then bili apes would be the vilified, misunderstood 'Blizzard' orc equivalents, big and strong yet honourable, while chimps would be the 'Tolkien' orc ones, small and weak but vicious, cunning and large in number.
Harry-the-Fox's avatar
Harry-the-FoxProfessional Digital Artist

Be quite the twist on the usual movie trope where the bigger stronger versions are evil while the smaller ones are meek and timid.

Pootisman90's avatar
Yeah, although what relations would be between chimps and hyenas evade me, since hyenas have mean bites but chimps can rip men in half.
Harry-the-Fox's avatar
Harry-the-FoxProfessional Digital Artist

They actually don't really interact as their habitats don't overlap. Chimps only live in the jungles of the Congo. Hyenas however live everywhere else around Central Africa where there is grassland. That said, Leopards hunt in BOTH habitats- they regularly eat chimps, but fear hyenas.

Strange thing about Lion King is that it depicted Hyenas as these small, weak scavengers that need large groups to accomplish stuff; in truth they're massive, powerful predators (much larger than most wolves) that are exceptionally good at hunting for themselves.

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tranh666's avatar
Do you think apes see simian similarities like we do? Say a zoo was on fire... Do you think chimps/gorillas/orangutans would try to help each other?
Harry-the-Fox's avatar
Harry-the-FoxProfessional Digital Artist
Hmmmm, not sure.
From what I know:
-Gorillas and Orangutans have been seen showing compassion and care to animals they have adopted (or given as pets).
-Chimpanzees are willing to be generous to stranger chimpanzees (unless they chimps in a position of potentially showing generosity are elderly, in which case they're mean, selfish and don't share).
-Wild gorillas have been seen disarming snares left by hunters, with the eye-witness claiming they tried to (casually) keep him away until the snares were deactivated.

Of course, these three apes would have reason to fear each other- at least fear the gorilla for being large, scary-looking and protective... and the chimps which enjoy eating other primates (bush babies and monkeys though).
Jet948's avatar
Jet948Hobbyist General Artist
Apes are one of the most interesting animals . I have seen that apes are very smart eg. I saw chimps who found a mirror and they guessed what is it they see in it , while other animals thought this is an intruder . Chimps also had in one of the experiment learned to use money and what to do with them to that point they started to buy sex for it . I also know that apes can be trained to do various things . I remember from cartoons that apes could do various things like in circus or chimp shooting a gun and scaring intelligent otherwise black men who gave it to it  , or I  remember that book of Julius Verne that our heroes had an orangutan who helped them to keep their home and he was very good at it .
Harry-the-Fox's avatar
Harry-the-FoxProfessional Digital Artist
Apes (aside from humans, who can also obviously do these things) demonstrate:
1- tool use (chimps using plant stems to 'catch' termites)
2- Gorillas reconfiguring their environment to help them do stuff (one picked up some rocks to build a "ladder" to reach fruit that was otherwise too high to grasp).
3- Gorillas using sticks to disarm snares
4- Gorillas and apes identifying rifles and taking evasive maneuvers to run away.
5- A mother orangutan approaching a boat, placing her baby in it, jumping inside and paddling away with her hands
6- All known ape species can learn to use a keyboard to "tell" people what they want (usually demands candy).
7- A rumour that Bonobos can crack rocks into knives or spikes when they have nothing else to do (note that many primates know about hard-shelled food sources they need to crack open- it could be that).
8- An interesting video on Youtube of wild Mountain Gorillas descending on a tourist park as a family just to look at some tourists before leaving (my guess, their idea of a 'tourist trip' to look at tamed humans in (what they presume to be) their "natural habitat".)
9- I'm pretty certain mountain gorillas will try to pick up large sticks to swat away leopards if they catch them prowling around... and it seems to deter them successfully.
Jet948's avatar
Jet948Hobbyist General Artist
Hi . Sorry for late reply . You know one of the funniest facts is that apes can be even smarter than humans in some matter . Check this out ;)
Harry-the-Fox's avatar
Harry-the-FoxProfessional Digital Artist
HAha! I remember that footage! Not quite sure it's actually real footage though ;)

That said, in all honesty, humans often underestimate (other) apes' intelligence in figuring out how things work. And that's ignoring the fact that all great apes KNOW rudimentary tool use.

That aside, apparently depth perception and hand-eye coordination is better in other apes than with us in some regards (vastly more so for "lesser" apes, and monkeys, as they really need to make snap calculations while moving in the treetops; the bigger apes obviously hardly bother with this as their/our survival doesn't really depend on moving between trees quickly).
cool1708's avatar
cool1708Hobbyist Writer
basically how i see the great ape line Humans have Sacrificed power and bulk for speed and endurance as to behonest they are the fastest out of the great apes as humans where built to be marathon runners while the other great apes have either a mix of speed and power like the big Gorillias while slower than humans they are the strongest out of the great apes while i would put banobos and chimps are a healthy mix between human speed and gorillias power orangutans i would say not as strong as the gorillia but most likely faster 
Harry-the-Fox's avatar
Harry-the-FoxProfessional Digital Artist
Pretty much, and the funny thing is, it shows in the anatomy.

-humans have vastly more elongated lower bodies and legs compared to other great apes
-humans have vastly shorter and smaller upper-bodies and arms than other great apes
-humans have much larger, rounder lungs.... however, this is replacing space that WOULD have gone to larger shoulder/pectoral muscles instead.

The strange part is, aside from some difference in bone density, the variable differences in strength between humans and another ape seems proportional to these, well, proportions, meaning it appears other great apes may have evolved by growing larger, we evolved by growing taller.
hawk485's avatar
most confident white man ever :D
Oaglor's avatar
OaglorHobbyist Traditional Artist
Any plans for a scale like this for just the genus of Homo?
Harry-the-Fox's avatar
Harry-the-FoxProfessional Digital Artist
As a matter of fact, yes!
As I am particularly interested in the neanderthals as well as Homo Floresiensis (the "Hobbits"). I'm also interested in branching out to a few other prehistoric humans, though I plan to research up on their anatomy a bit more first.
squidlifecrisis's avatar
excellent guide! I had no idea bonobos were so much smaller than chimps!

and wow I wish I hadn't skimmed the comments... uh... gonna scroll back up where the science is and hang out with you, ok
Harry-the-Fox's avatar
Harry-the-FoxProfessional Digital Artist
I was shocked too- I could have sworn they were bigger myself (though there was one involved in language-learning experiments might have been well above average- plus the experimenter was always sitting down next to him).
But in general, while true Chimpanzees can grow anywhere between three and five feet tall, Bonobos seem to mostly grow only up to three it seems.

And lol; no probs (regarding the comments- I forgot about that guy);
But when genetic testing suggests that humans and chimps have less in common with gorillas than we do each other, it's pretty indicative that we're apes (to make matters even stranger; all of these apes have more in common with each other than any does with the Orangutan).
grisador's avatar
Really great and accurate Size chart ! (Which can Piss somebody off)
Great Work !

So...No;  Gigantopicherus ? :D

And You are Right Bonobo's are indeed a different species
Harry-the-Fox's avatar
Harry-the-FoxProfessional Digital Artist
Cheers (and it's what I do, hehehehe!)

Ahem- as a matter of fact I'm actually in the process of drawing one (normally I don't do animals based on almost-nonexistent fossil remains; but hell, apes are fun to draw!)

Yep! To be fair for those that disagree, Pan apes are rather hard to distinguish into species. The sub-species themselves are genetically WAY different (apparently, even separated populations within species can have a wider genetic variance than the whole human race). Then we have those Bili Apes adding to the headache. While they have some (slight) physical differences from other chimps (sagittal crest is more pronounced)- genetically they're plain old chimps of a well-known sub-species (forgot which one)- with no outstanding genetic differences to qualify them as a species any more than any other population within it.
grisador's avatar
(There are actually two species of Gigantopithecus; I referred to the Easter Egg of Biology; The Mighty Bigfoot  Wink/Razz )

Yes; Bonobos are way more different than Normal Simian Apes; by both Behaviore and Genetical Biology. 
İn nature by Behaviore ; Normal Simian Apes are actually VERY Hostile, Disgustingly Cannibalistic/Semi-Cannibalistic (Or Hunting other Ape species) Species meanwhile The Bonobos actually made their Utopia ; living entirelly peacefull and non-hostile even other herbivorus even omnivorus species. (Probably Living style has a HUGE effect on Behaviore)

There are also several Newly identified or Understood species of primates; which it angers me everyone see them as one Simple 'Chimpanzee'  Rage 

There are even different species Of Gorilla ! 




Also there is Silverback Gorilla ! :D

I mean they are Highly diverse; But I think there are Entire Families/Groups hunted and killed by stupid beliefs about : '' Luck '' . (Beliefs about Monkey body parts brings luck and other monkey parts can be eaten)

anonymous's avatar
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