Exhibition guide

Humans in Nature

Section D “Humans in Nature”

Chimpanzee, Gorilla, Orangutan

Image of OrangutanImage of GorillaImage of ChimpanzeeHomo sapiens is one of the approximately 200 species constituting the primates. Primates are characterized by their opposing thumb; as well as by such features as flat nails, fingerprints, three-dimensional vision, and color sense.

This display features a turntable carrying stuffed orangutans, gorillas and chimpanzees―male and female specimens paired for each kind of animal. The exhibits show the beautiful black hair of the chimpanzee, and the white hair on the back of a male gorilla (called a “silverback”). The specimens also indicate the difference in body size among the primates. The difference between male and female primates of the same species is referred to as that between two sexual types. For orangutans and gorillas, the male bodysize is about twice that of the female. Additionally, male canine teeth are larger than those of the female.

Australopithecus Afarensis

Image of StromatoliteAustralopithecus afarensis are anthropoids that lived in East Africa about 3.8 to 3 million years ago. They are presumed to have been 1.0 to 1.5 meters high, and weighed 30 to 70 kilograms. Fossils of Australopithecus afarensis, as well as their footmarks (found in Laetoli, Tanzania), suggest that they walked upright, like humans do.

The head of an Australopithecus afarensis is characterized by its low, flat frontal portion, and its protruding eye sockets. These anthropoids are also known for their canine teeth, which are larger than those of humans. Their brain has a capacity of about 400 to 500 milliliters, not significantly different from that of the orangutan, gorilla, chimpanzee or other existing anthropoids.