Traditional Classification of Anthropoid primates
classification is based on
recognition of groups of similar organisms, as indicated
brackets at right. The Anthropoid ("man-like") Apes are distinguished from Old
Monkeys by the absence of a tail. The traditional taxonomy
is influenced by the perception that humans are very distinct
the Great Apes (chimps, gorillas, & orangutans)
(collectively the family Pongidae), and
are therefore a separate group (family Hominidae). Among
the apes, tailless gibbons
and siamangs are perceived as "lesser
apes" that are "monkey-like,"
and are therefore placed in a separate
Hylobatinae, or even a separate family, Hylobatidae.
By "promoting" humans to a
distinct family, this arrangement incorrectly implies that
chimps are more closely related to gorillas than to humans, or
that lesser and greater apes are more closely related to each
other than the latter is to humans.