Definitions for quadrumana

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Webster Dictionary

  1. Quadrumana

    a division of the Primates comprising the apes and monkeys; -- so called because the hind foot is usually prehensile, and the great toe opposable somewhat like a thumb. Formerly the Quadrumana were considered an order distinct from the Bimana, which last included man alone

  2. Origin: [NL. See Quadrumane.]


  1. Quadrumana

    Quadrumana and Bimana form an obsolete division of the primates: the Quadrumana are primates with four hands, and the Bimana being those with two hands and two feet. The attempted division of "Quadrumana" from "Bimana" form a stage in the long campaign to find a secure way of distinguishing Homo sapiens from the rest of the great apes, a distinction that was culturally essential. Quadrumana is Latin for "four-handed ones", which is a term used for apes since they do not have feet attached to their legs as humans do, but instead have hands, as both pairs of hands look almost alike and operate exactly like hands. Bimana is Latin for "two-handed ones", which is a term used for humans, as humans have only two hands, but have two feet which apes do not. The division was proposed by Johann Friedrich Blumenbach in the first edition of his Manual of Natural History and taken up by other naturalists, most notably Georges Cuvier. Some elevated the distinction to the level of order. However, the many affinities between humans and other primates — and especially the great apes — made it clear that the distinction made no scientific sense. In 1863, however, Thomas Henry Huxley in his Evidence as to Man's Place in Nature demonstrated that the higher apes might fairly be included in Bimana. Charles Darwin wrote, in The Descent of Man:

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