What is the Difference Between Anthropoids and Hominoids

The main difference between anthropoids and hominoids is that anthropoids include hominoids and New World and Old World monkeys, whereas hominoids only include humans and apes. Furthermore, monkeys in the group of anthropoids have a tail while hominoids do not have a tail. In addition to these, hominoids have significantly increased brain size, mental capabilities, and lifespan when compared to monkeys. 

Anthropoids and hominoids are simians (Infraorder Simiiformes) who are flat-nosed primates. Generally, simians belong to the haplorhines – the “dry-nosed” primates   

Key Areas Covered 

1. Anthropoids
     – Taxonomy, Characteristics, Classification
2. Hominoids
     – Taxonomy, Characteristics, Classification
3. What are the Similarities Between Anthropoids and Hominoids
     – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Anthropoids and Hominoids
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms 

Anthropoids, Apes, Hominoids, Humans, New World Monkey, Old World Monkey, Primates, Simians

Difference Between Anthropoids and Hominoids - Comparison Summary

Anthropoids – Taxonomy, Characteristics, Classification 

Generally, anthropoids are primates, excluding prosimians, which include strepsirrhines, haplorhine tarsiers, and their extinct relatives. Therefore, anthropoids are simians that belong to the infraorder Simiiformes or flat-nosed primates. Also, they include the two parvorders Patyrrhini and Catarrhini. Furthermore, the parvorder Catarrhini includes the two superfamilies: Cercopithecoidea (Old World monkeys) and Hominoidea (apes), including the genus Homo. New World monkeys originated 40 million years ago in South America, while the remaining simians split into Old World monkeys and apes around 25 million years ago.  

New World Monkeys 

New-world monkey lives in neotropical forests in Central and South America. Generally, the size of their body may vary from 6 inches (pygmy marmoset) to 3 feet (howler monkey) in length. Besides, the nostrils of the new-world monkeys are wide, circular, and spaced apart.

Main Difference - Anthropoids vs Hominoids

Figure 1: New World Monkey

Moreover, they have long tails, which sometimes serve as a prehensile. However, they lack buttock pads and cheek pouches.  

Old World Monkeys 

Old-world monkeys live in Asia and Africa. Basically, they are larger than new-world monkeys. Their nostrils are narrow and point downward. Furthermore, their hind legs are longer than the forearms. Also, they have flattened nails on both fingers and toes.

Anthropoids and Hominoids

Figure 2: Old World Monkey

They have prominent buttock pads on which they sit. Cercopithecinae (cheek-pouched monkeys) and Colobinae (leaf-eating monkeys) are the two subfamilies of old-world monkeys. 

Hominoids – Taxonomy, Characteristics, Classification 

Hominoids or apes are the superfamily of Old World, tailles simians that are native to Africa and Southeast Asia. Along with Old World monkeys, they form the parvorder Catarrhini. One of the main distinguishing features of hominoids is the wider degree of freedom of motion at the shoulder joint as evolved by the influence of brachiation. Traditionally, the term ‘apes’ exclude humans and only includes two groups: the lesser apes and the greater apes. However, the superfamily Hominoidea or hominoids also include the genus Homo (humans). 

The Lesser Apes 

The lesser apes consist of gibbons. Generally, they are smaller than great apes and live in pairs. The largest type is the siamangs. 

Difference Between Anthropoids and Hominoids

Figure 3: Gibbons

The Greater Apes 

Gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans, and bonobos are great apes. Basically, the face of great apes is not covered with hair and lack cheek pouches. Their ears are round. Their fingers are opposable, and the thumb is shorter. Moreover, the great apes are bipedal. Basically, they rely on vision rather than smell. Also, they have a wide range of facial expressions and vocalizations. They are intelligent and are capable of thinking, as well. 

Anthropoids vs Hominoids

Figure 4: An Oorang-Utan


Humans belong to the genus Homo, which includes the modern human (Homo sapiens) and several extinct species, starting from the extinct genus Australopithecus. Modern humans emerged close to 300,000 to 200,000 years ago in Africa. However, today, they are present all over the world. More significantly, humans have a large and complex brain with the highest intellectual capabilities. 

Similarities Between Anthropoids and Hominoids 

  • Anthropoids and hominoids are two types of simians that are primates with flat noses. 
  • They arose 85–55 million years ago first as plesiadapiforme from small terrestrial mammals (Primatomorpha).  
  • Generally, they adapted to live in the trees of tropical forests. 
  • They have four limbs: a pair of legs and a pair of arms with an altered shoulder girdle. 
  • Furthermore, their limbs are highly flexible with dexterous fingers. 
  • Their body is covered with short, dense hair, except for the face. 
  • They have flat faces with small ears. 
  • Moreover, their eyes are forward-facing with visual acuity, colour vision and an excellent depth of perception.  
  • Their brains are relatively large and complex. 
  • In addition to the above, they are omnivores, consuming small invertebrates, fruits, and plants. 

Difference Between Anthropoids and Hominoids 


Anthropoids refer to an infraorder of primates containing the parvorders Patyrrhini and Catarrhini, which consists of the superfamilies Cercopithecoidea and Hominoidea. Meanwhile, the hominoids refer to a branch of Old World, tailless simians native to Africa and Southeast Asia.

Other Names 

Anthropoids are also known as simians while hominoids are also known as apes. 


Moreover, anthropoids belong to the infraorder Simiiformes while hominoids belong to the superfamily Hominoidea. 


Anthropoids include the infraorder of catarrhines (Old World monkeys and apes) and the infraorder of platyrrhines (New World Monkeys) while hominoids include the family of Hylobatidae (the lesser apes), the family of Hominidae (the greater apes) and the genus Homo (humans). 


Anthropoids originated forty million years ago, giving rise to New World monkeys through the colonization in South America and twenty-five million years ago, Old World monkeys and apes split. 

Number of Species 

Around 260 known species of monkeys live in the world while around 23 known species of apes live in the world. 


Monkeys live in Asia, Africa, Central, and South America while apes live in Africa and South Asia.  

Body Size 

While monkeys have a small body with a quadrupedal position, apes have a comparatively large body with upright posture.  


Monkeys have a narrow chest, while apes have a broader chest. 


The limbs of monkeys have an equal length while the upper limbs are longer in apes and lower limbs are longer in humans. 


Furthermore, monkeys have narrow shoulders, while the apes have stronger and flexible shoulders. 

Straightening of Upper Limbs 

The arms of the monkey cannot be straightened at the elbow while the wrist and the forearm can achieve a limited range of movements. In comparison to this, the arms of the ape fully straightened at the elbow, while the wrist and the forearm can achieve a wide range of movements.  


New World monkeys have a long and flexible tail, Old World monkeys have short tails, while the apes do not have a tail. 

Moving in Trees 

Monkeys run along the tops of the trees by jumping with the use of tail for the balance, while the apes swing from branch to branch. 

Brain Size 

Whereas monkeys have a small brain, apes and humans have comparatively a large and complex brain. 

Rely on Senses 

Monkeys rely on the smell, while apes rely on vision. 

Intellectual Capabilities 

Moreover, monkeys have lower intellectual capabilities, while the apes have a complex social-behavioural system and higher cognitive skills.  


Anthropoids are simians, which include humans, apes, Old World monkeys, and New World Monkeys. New World monkeys evolved forty million years ago in South America. They have a smaller body size with the quadrupedal position, narrow chest and shoulders, and a long, flexible tail. On the other hand, Old World monkeys and apes evolved twenty-five million years ago. Basically, hominoids are apes and humans. However, they have a large body with an upright position and a significantly large and complex brain. They do not have a tail. Meanwhile, humans show the highest evolutionary level with the highest intellectual capabilities. Therefore, the main difference between anthropoids and hominoids is their evolution and characteristics. 


1. “The Evolution of Primates | Boundless Biology.” Lumen, Available Here.

Image Courtesy:

1. “BrownSpiderMonkey (edit2)” By http://www.birdphotos.com edit by Fir0002 (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia   
2. “Semnopithecus hypoleucos” By D Momaya at English Wikipedia (CC BY 2.5) via Commons Wikimedia   
3. “Hylobates lar pair of white and black 01” By User: MatthiasKabel – Own work at Zoo Salzburg (CC BY 2.5) via Commons Wikimedia   
4. “SD Zoo Orangs” By Takinzinnia – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia   

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things. She has a keen interest in writing articles regarding science.

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