Nevis Public School
The white-cheeked gibbon or otherwise known as the black gibbon is a very acrobatic animal living in the treetops of South East Asia. This ape is the smallest of the lesser apes which also includes chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans. The gibbon is rather a unique primate.
The white-cheeked gibbon belongs to the kingdom Animalia .(1) To be in the kingdom Animalia you must be multicellular, to be multicellular you must have more than one cell. The amoeba is an example of unicellular organism. To be unicellular, you only have one cell. Also to be in the kingdom Animalia, the animal must be heterotrophic. To be heterotrophic you cannot make your own food.(2) Plants on the other hand, make their own food by photosynthesis so they are called autotrophic(2). Photosynthesis is the process by which the plant cells make carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and water with the help of chlorophyll and light that combine together.(3) And the final characteristic to be Animalia is to have cell membranes with no cell walls, the thin membrane that forms the outer surface of the living part of the cell.(2)
The phylum the white-cheeked gibbon is in is Chordata . The characteristics of this phylum includes bilateral symmetry. Bilateral symmetry is where you could be cut down the middle and both sides would almost look exactly like the other side. An example would be a butterfly. A second characteristic is a segmented body including segmented muscles. A segmented body has divisions such as your bones and the same with muscles. The third characteristic is they have three germ layers which is one of the primary layers or folds. This includes the ectoderm-outer layer of cells, mesoderm- the middle layer of cells, and the endoderm- the inner layer of cells. The gibbons must also have a well-developed coelom(4) (body cavity)(3), single, dorsal, hollow nerve cord which usually ends with a large anterior brain, tail projecting beyond the anus during one of its stages of development, pharyngeal(4) (having to do with the pharynx. The pharnyx is the cavity to the back of the mouth where the air passages to the nose, lungs, and stomach start.)(3), pouches which is a fold of skin present at one stage of development, a ventral heart- is where the lower chambers of the heart receive the blood, with a dorsal, ventral and a closed blood system, a fully complete digestive system, and finally they must have a bony (which deals with the bone) or a cartilaginous (which deals a tough elastic substance that forms parts of the body and is not as hard and is more flexible) endoskeleton which is usually present(4).
The gibbon is included in the class Mammalia . To be included in the class Mammalia they have three middle ear bones, hair, sweat glands, and mammary glands. Mammalia hair has four functions: provides insulation, to keep the heat; special hairs have a sensory function to let it know when it is touching another object; serve has camouflage to disguise it against its surroundings; and, to communicate social information. Hair also provides the animal protection. All mammals feed their infants with milk. Other characteristics include highly different teeth; first they have milk teeth, a lower jaw that is made up of one dentary (bone), a four-chambered heart, the roof of their mouth separates air and food passages in the mouth, a diaphragm that separates thoracic and abdominal cavities, a well developed brain, endothermy(5) (is where you maintain a constant internal temperature(3) and homeothermy(5) (is where internal temperature changes with your surroundings) (3), different sexes with the sex of the embryo being determined by chromosomes( rod-shaped bodies found in the nucleus of a cell.(3) They appear when the cell breaks.(3)) and internal fertilization.(5)
White-cheeked gibbon are placed in the order of Primates . To be classified as a primate they must have these characteristics: shortened rostrum, a snout or looks like a beak; forwardly directed orbits; a hallux, (the big toe(3)); a pollex, (thumb(3)); highly mobile radius; forelimb; tibia, inner and thickest bone of the leg; fibula, which is the outer and thinner bone in the foreleg in the hind; ulna in the forelimb; have a clavicle, which is the collarbone; first toe with a nail; stomach; incisors (teeth); canines, sometimes present, premolars; hypocone; and arboreal which means away from the mouth.(6)
The white-cheeked gibbon is classified in the family Hominidae and the subfamily Hylobatidae . They have nostrils that are close together, the nostrils face downward and forward, the molars are bunodont and lack lophs(7),lophs are elongated ridges that run between cusps which are a blunt or a pointed end on the crown of a tooth(11);top molars more than likely have cingulum. A cingulum is the ridge at the base of the crown of a tooth. Also to be in the family hominidae they must have prominent canines.(7)
White-cheeked gibbons are placed in the genus Hylobates.(8) Hylobates mean tree-dweller.(24) The reason for this is it is placed with the other gibbons. To be a gibbon you must brachiate; live monogamous; long arms; and all gibbons are very vocal The species of the white-cheeked gibbon is Concolor Leucogenys .(8)
White-cheeked gibbon or black gibbon is its common name while hylobates concolor leucogenys is its scientific name.(9) The White-cheeked gibbon is classified as very endangered compared to other gibbons. They are on the very brink of extinction.(22)
The white-cheeked gibbon is a small tailless ape which has different coloration throughout its life. The white-cheeked gibbon is born fawn-colored but then becomes black after about 6 months and remains black until reaching maturity at 5-7 years. The female then becomes fawn, but a small patch on the crown remains black. The male remains black all over with white or fawn colored cheeks.(10) It is a small anthropoid ape that is slender with a small, round head.(15) Anthropoid means that is man-like, or reminding them of a human. An anthropoid ape includes the chimpanzee, gorilla, orangutan, and gibbons.They are characterized by this because of their general appearance that looks like a man. An example would be they don't have tails, the bone structure is like a humans, and no cheek pouches.(3) They also have very long arms.(14) Their arms are longer than their legs.(15) Their fur is coarse and woolly.(11) The length of the head and body is 16-36 inches (41-91 cm.). The average weight of the gibbon is 9-29 pounds (4-13 kilograms).(12) Males and females are not able to be distinguished from each other. They are basically the same size.(13) The ears of the white-cheeked gibbon are very small.(11) They have short thumbs and long fingers. The gibbon's thumb is longer, but it is used as a hook so it can swing from tree to tree.(15) The white-cheeked gibbon is a subspecies of the black gibbon. Basically there is no difference in the two animals except the finger of a white-cheeked gibbons may be longer than the same fingers of a black gibbon. This statement is only an example.(16)
(23) (23) (23)
There is a special section of pictures in the end. There is also a handout of how many there are in captivity.
The gibbon's habitat is at war right now so there is no exact count of how many are in the wild.(11) The average life span of a gibbon is 28 years.(18) There has been a recording of a white-cheeked gibbon living up to 34 years. There has been other species of gibbons that have lived to 44 years of age.(18) There is no special senses in the gibbons but their eyesight is very accurate for brachiating. Brachiating is reversal of bipedalism.(11) Stereoscopic vision is needed to judge distances accurately.(19) They need this vision because if they couldn't judge their distances correctly they would fall from heights of 200 feet in the air. They would break their bones becoming helpless and getting by a predator.(11)
Gibbons can leap 50 feet at a time. They can travel at speeds of 35 miles per hour while they are 200 feet in the air. When they are on the ground, they are one of the few animals who walk upright. (34)
The gestation period of a white-cheeked gibbon is 200-212 days.(20) They have one offspring at a time and the offspring are very dependent on their parents for the first few years of their life, usually until the time another baby gibbon is born. The parents have up to four young children.(21) They have an average of four in their lifespan.(11) The newborn travels with its mother soon after birth first hanging onto the mother's breast. Then in a few weeks moves back to the abdomen hanging onto the hair on her belly.(29) The female reproduction system produces the ova and contains an organ, the uterus, or womb, in which the developing offspring is accommodated. The male's system produces sperm and includes an organ, the penis which deposits sperm into her uterus. The sperm travels down the fallopian tubes and fertilizes the females egg.(25) The white-cheeked gibbon can mate any time, any place- even when they are just hanging in a tree.(23) Females show no sign of estrus.(21) The estrus is when the animal is sexually active, in heat.(3) When the infant is born, their eyes are open and their body and limbs are bare. Because of this, they are very dependent on their mother.(10) Early in the second year, weaning occurs. They usually reach maturity by the sixth year. A young male leaves the family group by about the eighth year.(24) The white-cheeked gibbon's reproductive system is much like a humans. white-cheeked gibbons have menstrual cycle.(10) Although both the male and female systems differ in structure, housing, and function, both develop from the same embryonic tissue.(10) Embryonic has to do with the embryo which is the early stage of development of an animal.(3) and in their adult forms, contain many counterpart or corresponding organs. The female organs are housed inside the body within the pelvis. From the outside, all that is visible is the external genitals, known mostly as the vulva.(25) The female has a long, grooved clitoris.(10) The clitoris is a small erectile organ at the front part of the vulva.(3) At the front is the mons veneris or mons pubis. The female has an ovary, uterus, fallopian tubes, bladder, cervix, pubic bone, urethra, clitoris, vagina, and a rectum.(25) At the end of the second month and the start of the third month of pregnancy the female's vulva becomes swollen. An important sign for zoo staff that the female is pregnant. When giving birth the mother prevents the baby from falling by reaching her hands underneath to catch the child.(27)The male reproductive system lies both inside and the outside the body, it is linked to the urinary system. The male has seminal vesicles, prostrate gland, bladder, pubic bone, vas deferens, urethra, penis, testis, epipidymis, and a scrotum.(25) The male white-cheeked gibbon has a scrotum unlike other gibbon species.(10)
The white-cheeked gibbon's skeletal system is a lot like the human skeleton. They have no different bones than humans, its just that their bones have different sizes than our bones do.(11) Scientists classify bones into 4 groups: Long, short, flat, and irregular. Long bones include the femur, tibia, and fibula for examples. Flat bones, such as the skull and shoulder blades, protect other structures and provide broad surfaces for anchorage of the muscles. Anchorage means something to hold on to such as for example a boat anchor. The irregular bones include the spine. This is placed under the group irregular because of its weird shape. There are two main types of bony tissue. Hard, solid, heavy walls that are made of dense tissue called the compact bone. Inside the bone is a mesh of spongy bone. These two combined, let bones have their strength and lightness. The ends of long bones are covered with cartilage. This serves to protect the bones from friction against the other bones and from damage from hitting the joints.(25)
The mandible is the jaw bone. The clavicle is otherwise known as the shoulder bone. The sternum is the long bone between the ribs. The humerus is the long bone in your arm that connects the shoulder and radius and ulna bone. The carpals are the wrist bones. Phalanges are the finger bones. Your pelvis is also known as the hip bone. The femur is the long bone from the pelvis to the tibia and the fibula. The tarsals are the ankle bones. The phalanges are the toe bones.(25) The ribs are an important bones because they protect your heart. The sternum connects your rib. Patella are your knee caps.(14)
The white-cheeked gibbon's circulatory system is the same as the humans. Blood pumping from the heart goes through the arteries. And blood going to the heart goes through the veins.(25) The heart works in this sequence- oxygenated blood from the lungs fill up the left atrium. It contracts, driving the blood into the left ventricle. This then contracts and blood pressure inside shuts the mitral valve making the blood go through the aortic valve to the aorta brings gives oxygenated blood to the whole body. While this is all going on deoxygenated blood from body tissues fill up the right atrium. It then contracts making blood past through the tricuspid valve into the right ventricle, which also then contracts. The remaining pressure closes the tricuspid valve and forces the blood out to the pulmonary artery to the lungs where the cycle starts again. Both of the valves of the heart work simultaneously.(25)
Blood is vital for life of every tissue in the body. Blood is made mostly in bone marrow. Blood's four main ingredients are plasma, red cells, white cells, and platelets.(25)
Plasma is the pale yellow fluid and it accounts for 55-65% of blood. Plasma is 90% water and 10% dissolved substances, mostly salts and proteins. Most of the salts are ionized, to separate into ions. Acids,bases, and salts ionize in solution, and go out from the capillaries into the other tissues. The proteins are too large to escape. This helps maintain a healthy balance between the fluid in capillaries and the tissues. The important plasma proteins are albumin, this is the protein found in the white of an egg, milk, blood serum, lymph, and other plant and animal tissue this helps keep blood volume and pressure. There is also globulin which contains various antibodies, this helps fight against viruses and bacteria. There is also a fibrinogen. This plasma protein plays an important part in blood clotting. It is a protein that works with an enzyme to slow fibrin in the coagulation, clotting of blood at the surface.(25)
The red blood cells make up more than 99% of all the blood cells. Bone marrow makes over 100 million blood cells a minute to make up for the ones lost.(25) We lose red blood cells in our bloodstream because they are destroyed mainly in the liver and the spleen.(25)
The white blood cells are larger than red blood cells but there are less there. There are three main types of white blood cells. There is granulocytes 70%, monocytes 10%, and lymphocytes 20%. Granulocytes are cells whose cytoplasm, a living substance of a cell outside of a nucleus, contains grains that they play an important part in the destruction of bacteria. Monocytes are the largest in size and make up about 3 to 8 percent of all white blood cells. Lymphocytes are colorless cells of the blood and made in lymph glands. They have a nucleus and are responsible for fighting against diseases. They help the body fight against viruses and infections. They overtake the old red cells. They are the core of fighting against diseases.
The platelets are the smallest blood cells and play a major role in clotting of the blood. They go together to the injured blood vessel and stick together to clot the blood.(25)
The white-cheeked gibbon's nervous system is just like the human's body nervous system. Except for their brain is less convoluted than the humans.(27) Convoluted means coiling and twisting.(3) Without the nervous system, the rest of the body would be immobilized. The nervous system receives correlated information from outside and inside the body and reacts by sending signals to appropriate muscles and glands so that these produce coordinated responses.(25) The nervous system is divided into two parts; the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. Functions of the central nervous system are similar to those of the central processing unit of a computer. This system relays messages, processes information, and compares and analyzes information. The peripheral nervous system consists of all the nerves.(2)
Each part of the brain has different functions that it is in charge of. The cerebrum is in charge of voluntary activities of the body, site of intelligence, learning, and judgment. The Cerebellum is in charge of muscle activity so the body can move efficiently and gracefully. The brain stem is in charge of connecting the brain to the spinal cord. It coordinates incoming information and the place of entry for ten to twelve cranial nerves. The lowest part of the brain stem is the medulla oblongata and is in charge of involuntary functions such as breathing, blood pressure, heart rate, swallowing, and coughing. (2)
Excretory System (Digestive System)
A white-cheeked gibbon's digestive system is also like a human's digestive system. The digestive system dismantles or breaks down food into chemical components. The gut is the main part of the digestive system, the gut has two openings- the mouth which admits the unprocessed food and the anus which releases the food wastes. The rectum is located right before the anus. Between the mouth and the anus lies two specialized organs like the teeth, pancreas, and the stomach. These organs break down fats, proteins, and carbohydrates then they are absorbed by the body.(25) The white-cheeked gibbon's feces looks like runny cat poop.(11) The mouth breaks down food it then travels to the esophagus down into the stomach, where it is digested more. From the stomach it goes to the small intestine.Digestion from liver and pancreas enzymes which nutrients are absorbed. The solids pass to the large intestine to the rectum to the anus. The liquid wastes do not travel to the large intestine instead it travels to the bloodstream where the blood takes the nutrients it needs and then go back to the kidneys and it goes to the ureter. Then travels to the bladder where you excrete it.(2)
The left lung is smaller then the right lung so it has room for the heart. The left lung is broke up into two main lobes and the right is broke up into three lobes. Air enters through the nose or mouth.When inhaled through the nose it goes to the nasal cavities, which is made up of arteries, veins, and capillaries. It passes through the nasal airways which are lined with mucus and hair that catch particles. As it goes through the nasal cavity it enter the pharynx. From the pharynx air enters the trachea which is also known as the windpipe. At the top of the trachea is the larynx. The larynx is made of cartilage and two elastic pieces of tissue called vocal cords. The air then passes to the lungs where inside the trachea divides into the right and left bronchi. Each bronchi enters into a lung. The left bronchi enters the left lung, and the right bronchi enters the right lung. The bronchi divide into bronchioles which are smaller. The bronchiole then divide into alveoli. The alveoli are balls at the end of the bronchiole. They consist of thin, flexible membranes containing a network of capillaries for the gas exchange. They separate gas and liquids to get clean, fresh air in the alveoli.(2) When you breathe in, the muscles of the diaphragm contract. When you breathe out the diaphragm relaxes.(25)
The white-cheeked gibbon lives in the rainforests of South and Southeastern Asia.(12) They are tree-dwelling animals.(7) They live in tropical rainforest, semi-deciduous forest, and montane forest up to 2000 meters in elevation. The gibbons prefer the closed canopy, but during feeding they may climb to the highest crowns or go down to clumps of bamboo and low bushes. They do go on the ground to drink water.(10) The tropical rainforest receives over 60 inches of rain a year. The trees of southeast Asia include rubber tree, betel palm, bamboo, ginkgo, turmeric, rice, loquat, white mulberry, opium poppy,sandlewood, nutmeg, rattan, teak, rafflesia(26), and willow trees.(11) Gibbons are very territorial about their habitat. Gibbons have favorite trees to sleep in. Night after night they return to the same trees.They may huddle together or sleep alone. When sleeping alone, they wedge into a tree fork. Unlike other apes they do not build nests.They have special pads of tough skin on their hind ends that serve as built in cushions.(12) They sleep with their knees bent up to their chins, hands folded on knees and face buried between the knees and chest. The hunched position helps keep their body heat.(10)
Food Web of the Gibbons(28)
The diet of gibbons is mostly frugivorous, they mainly eat fruits, young leaves, and some insects. The fruit that is eaten is very ripe, fleshly, and sugary fruits with juicy pulps.(21) Their diet is usually 80% fruit, 20% leaves, buds, and flowers. They will eat bird's eggs and young birds.(10) Some of the fruits that the gibbons eat are mango berries, figs, and grapes.(29) Sometimes they eat tree frogs.(27) The gibbon's diet also includes bamboo tips, buds, and blossoms.(27) When the gibbons eat tiny birds, it may reach for its wings to grab them.(10),Other ways of eating is to reach and pick the fruit. The white-cheeked gibbon diet at the zoo was monkey chow, oranges, apples, seeds of some sort (unable to figure out what kind), and bananas were just some of the fruit.(11)
The Gibbons avoid being eaten by staying in the trees most of the time. When the gibbons are on the ground they walk with their arms in the air for their balance. This may scare predators. They also show their teeth and begin hooting and howling at the predator.(29) Their predators in the animal kingdom are leopards, clouded leopards, charsa martens, and rarely snakes.(27) The main enemy, is man due to the black market and destruction of habitat.(27) The gibbon is eaten by bigger monkeys or apes. The monkeys and apes are eaten by cats. These cats can be killed by bigger cats. Maggots eat the cats. Birds may eat maggots and they eat fruits.(28)
The gibbons are the songbirds of the forest. White-cheeked gibbons compose duets made of grunts, squeaks, and whistles from the male and twitters from the female. While singing they may shake the branches of the trees.(30) Their voices can travel 2 miles through the dense forest canopy.(22) Gibbons are afraid of water so they use them in zoo exhibits to keep them from leaving.(11)
The white-cheeked gibbons intelligence has been tested and they have been close to the chimpanzee in intelligence.(8)
The gibbons and siamangs are the true brachiators amongst the apes.(30) Brachiation is to move from branch to branch with one arm going in front of the other.(30) Siamangs are a type of gibbon that are larger, heavily built, and have a naked air sac. When they vocalize the air sac inflates.(30)
The white-cheeked gibbons are monogamous. To live monogamous means to only live with a father, mother, and children.Just the close family. There are no other gibbons that live with them.Adult gibbons do not put up with any adult animals of the same species and the same sex next to them.(23)
Gibbons are very territorial. To be territorial means to be very protective of the area you live in. A mated pair will actively defend their territory. The territorial area has been recorded up to 40-300 acres.(29) They defend the territory by singing loud, elaborate songs together in the morning along the perimeter of their territory. The songs are species and sex specific, the male and female always singing together from dawn until 10 am and then in the evenings. Males will sing solo to attract females.(21) When two groups meet near the boundaries of their territory conflicts can last for a few minutes up to a few hours. While this is going on, they will sit for long periods of time calling and sometimes having swift chases between the gibbons.(21) They have estimated there to be about 250-300 acres per group.(10)
There does not seem to be a dominance difference between males and females. The pairs seem to be fairly equal and show no clear difference in social roles.(21)
When primates get sick, they take a bite out of a charcoal briquette. Charcoal eating is rare, but soil consumption occurs widely among many of the primates instead of charcoal eating.(31)
There is little social behavior among the family groups but grooming and play does take place. They groom each other loyally.Grooming earns the animals brownie points that come in handy later on in life such as winning favors and avoiding spats.(32)
Some movies that include primates in their stories are Dunston Checks In, Aladdin, Congo, The Planet of the Apes, The Wizard of Oz, The Lion King, Monkey Trouble, The Jungle Book and King Kong. Some stories are The Tan Tan Series by Kazuo Iwamura, Curious George Series by Margaret and H.A. Rey's, Monkey and the Moon by John Randall and illustrated by Jim Edmiston, The Jungle Book, Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears, a West African Folk Tale retold by Verna Aardema, and The Monkey and the Crocodile, a Jataka Tale from India retold by Ellen C. Babbit. Some poems include Monkeys and the Crocodiles by Laura E. Richards, Murder in the rue Morgues by Edgar Allen Poe, and a poem by Zhang Chao and Meng Chao written 1100 years ago. They wrote this poem because when they saw the white-cheeked gibbon, they thought the animal could fly.
The white-cheeked gibbon doesn't have any special terminology that we could find. It's just male, female, and baby.
The white-cheeked gibbon is on the very brink of extinction!!! (23) It is endangered because of war and logging. The Southeast Asian rain forests are disappearing at a rate of 32 acres per minute.(33) Because gibbons can't migrate they can't move anywhere else. So where there territory is they have to stay there.(11) Capturing young gibbons for pet trade or poaching for food is some more serious threats. Two species of the gibbon are listed as critical, but no conversation programs exists for them.(9) Another threat to the white-cheeked gibbon is the human flu. Because when a gibbon gets the human flu it causes them to die, because they aren't immune to our bacteria.(11)
There are conservation groups like The International Center for Gibbon Studies that are working on saving the gibbons.(33) There is a reasonable amount of gibbons being housed in North American facilities for breeding programs. There are many other breeding programs for other species of gibbons. As of April 1995 there were fifty white-cheeked gibbons in North American zoological facilities. One of the gibbon's Species Survival Plan first tasks is to decide some questions about biological relevance of existing subspecies.(9)
Some controversies concerning gibbons are people wanting to take them home as pets. But when they mature they don't want them any more. So they are trying to close the black market on the trade of gibbons. They are on the brink of extinction because of the black market, poaching, and deforestation.(11)
There should be more conservation groups to help the gibbons from becoming extinct and they should try to close the black market. They should also try to crack down on the poachers and have harder laws on the people getting caught poaching. We want our children's children to see the animals in the wild and not just in some book about extinction.
*Zoos of the world that contain the white-cheeked gibbon*
This is where the white-cheeked gibbon is found.
1) Rafert, Jan W. Letter. Oct.12, 1998.
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7) "Hylobatidae"<http://www.oit.itd.umich.edu/bio108/Chordata/Mammalia/Primates/Hylobatidae.shtml> 10-14-98
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18) Goodall, Jane. The Pictorial Guide to the Living Primates. Pogonias Press; New York. 1996. page 216
19) Bender, Lionel and Linda Gamlin. The Book of Natural History. Aladdin Books; New York. 1994.
20) "Gibbon." 1975-1976. Italy.
22) "Gibbon Study International" <http://www.blarg.net/~critter/articles/primates/gibbon1.html> 10-11-98
25) Kramer, Ann. "Body Systems." The Human Body. World Book, Inc; Chicago.Volume 7: pages 14,15,18,19,22,23,32,33,46,47,24,25: 1989.
26) Pye,Lucian W, Myron Weiner, and Marvin Zonis. "Asia." World Book Encyclopedia. World Book, Inc;Chicago. Volume 1: pages 798-799:1989
27) Monkeys and Apes: Berger, Gotthant, 1985
28) Cartwright, Mary and Andrew Dixon. The Usborne Book of World Wildlife.Usborne Publishing Ltd; Salfrom Hill,1994.
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30) Napier, J.R. and Napier, P.H. The Natural History of Primates: 1985. page 163.
31) Biser, Jennifer A. "Really Wild Animals." Zoogoer. Volume 27 number 1. January/February, 1998. page 12.
32) Stewart, Doug. "The Importance of Getting Clean." International Wildlife.Volume 28 number 2. March/April,1998 page 20.
33) "Conservation."<http://rintintin.colorado.edu/~bowmansm/conservation.html> 9-30-98
34) International Center of Gibbon Studies. E-Mail. PJDahall@aol.com
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