Most gibbons live in the rainforests of Southeast Asia. A few can be observed in captivity in zoos across the United States. Creatures of Creation ministries has been blessed with two of its own gibbons that can be experienced up close and personal at many of Dan Breeding’s wild animal encounters. Leeza (2 ½ months) and Albie (1 ½ years) are two common (white-handed) gibbons. (Their scientific name is Hylobates.) Leeza and Albie are actually sisters that were graciously donated to Creatures of Creation by a zoo in Maine.
These slender, long-limbed animals are actually apes, often referred to as “lesser apes.” They differ from great apes (gorillas, chimps and orangutans) in that they are smaller. Incidentally, an easy way for the average person to tell the difference between monkeys and apes is to look for a tail. Monkeys have tails, apes don’t.
Gibbons are primarily arboreal (tree dwelling) and are masters at their primary mode of locomotion, using their long arms to swing from branch to branch at distances of up to fifty feet and speeds as much as thirty-five miles per hour. They can also make leaps of up to twenty-seven feet, and when they walk bipedally, they walk with their arms raised for balance.
There are nine species of gibbons which usually reach a weight between 20-30 pounds and have about four times the strength of a human (pound for pound) when they are fully grown. Ironically, gibbons have only one subspecies, called Siamangs, which are actually larger, reaching a total weight of up to forty pounds. While the gibbon is omnivorous, it is primarily a fruit eater, with a particular craving for figs in the wild.
One very special feature of the gibbon is its uniquely-designed rotator cuff with an uncanny ability to rotate 360 degrees, allowing it to turn a complete circle with ease. A gibbon’s arms are actually longer than its height, which helps explains why they will raise their arms when they walk on two feet.
It is important to realize that evolutionists will often argue that various skulls discovered over the years suggest human evolution. For an example, the so-called “Java Man” is supposed to represent an advanced form of man, but Eugene Dubois, the very person who discovered the Java Man, ultimately concluded that it was merely a giant gibbon!
Scripture clearly teaches that God created each “beast of the earth according to its kind” (Genesis 1:25) and then “created man in His own image” (Genesis 1:27). In fact, God “formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life” (Genesis 2:7). While we should appreciate and learn all about God’s amazing creatures, we must remember that man is the only creature that is created in God’s image and set apart to have a relationship with Him.
- Dan Breeding, professional animal trainer, Creatures of Creation