Two chimpanzees sitting together

Great apes

Great apes including humans are all in the same primate family, called the Hominidae, and are the largest of the primates. In all species the male is bigger than the female. The great apes include gorillas, chimpanzees and orangutans.

Scientific name: Hominidae

Rank: Family

Common names:


Great ape size range

An illustration comparing the size of other great apes with humans, from largest to smallest: human (tallest), eastern gorilla

A comparison of great ape size, including humans - from the 180cm tall human, to the 130cm tall Australopithecus.

When they lived

Discover the other animals and plants that lived during the following geological time periods.

Video collections

Take a trip through the natural world with our themed collections of video clips from the natural history archive.

  • What on Earth...? 2009 What on Earth...? 2009

    Watch the year's highlights from the BBC's exploration of the planet's hidden corners and rarest creatures: from the turquoise seas of the South Pacific to the Lost Land of the Volcano.