Gibbon Adaptations

Gibbon Adaptations

Gibbons are complete tree dwellers, that is, arboreal in nature. This particular trait not only makes them quite different from most other terrestrial animals, but also has made them develop significant adaptive measures to survive in the world.

The most obvious adaptation in gibbons, which is anatomic in nature, is their elongated hands. Upon a little observation, it would be seen that their hands are not proportionate to their body- they are relatively longer. This is because of their way of locomotion. Gibbons move around by grabbing hold of branches of trees and moving forward- just like people do with ropes in circus acts. Their elongated hands not only makes them move faster but also enables them to reach out for fruits, which is their common food, or leaves, hanging at a distant branch, especially if the branches are thin. Being a little on the heavier side as compared to other animals like flying foxes, squirrels, etc who also live mostly on trees. Thus, a certain amount of competition comes in between the gibbons and other smaller animals, as the latter have an advantage of lighter weight which makes them move around on the thinner branches without much problem. But this is where the long arms of gibbons help them too. This process of moving around a tree by an arboreal animal and reaching out for branches simply by hanging is called brachiation.

To support their body mass during the swinging movements while brachiating, gibbons are provided with strong and long finger-flexors. This also helps them grip the tree branches strongly. Another bodily adaptation of the gibbons would be the development of their ball and socket joint at the upper arm. They are so evolved that their arms do not strain even after continuous hours of hanging and swinging by the tree branches.

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Gibbon Adaptations