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These are tall, sapient great apes that primarily live in trees, but come down for occasional food or things that catch their interest on the ground. By tall, I mean 6-7 feet on average, but because they are arboreal, they have short legs, long arms with a wingspan about 1.5 times their height, and in order to live safely in large trees, they are never heavier than 105 kg unless obese, with the strongest adults averaging around 95 kg. Their torsos are very tall, granting them large lung capacities, and due to mate selection, they have elongated necks, which add to their height.

For locomotion, they are good climbers with prehensile feet and a lot of reach to grab branches. They should probably be able to move around by quadrumanous scrambling in the trees like orangutans rather than brachiation because of their center of gravity, but I'm sure younger or lighter ones could brachiate. On the ground, these humanoids would probably suck at running fast, and with their strong, long arms, they would prefer to run on all fours, walking as bipeds for the use of their hands. They are flexible and agile for their size, a lot like orangutans.

I am curious about how well they would swim. The jungle they live in floods during the rainy season, so it would probably be beneficial to them if they could swim from tree to tree. I figure that their long torsos, long arms, and short legs would increase lung capacity, extend their reach, and reduce drag in the water. They are capable of creating and using complex tools and weapons, so aquatic predators like crocodiles are a threat, but not as much of a threat as they are for animals like chimpanzees because these apes can harpoon aquatic predators in defense, or while hunting.

Assuming that conditions are earthlike, would these apes be able to swim at least as well as humans? Would aquatic capabilities sacrifice too many traits that benefit an arboreal lifestyle?

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They can teach eachother..

When I search for information about large primates swimming, I get a lot of different opinions. It is not a natural trait for them,

The tree-dwelling ancestors of apes had less opportunity to move on the ground. They thus developed alternative strategies to cross small rivers, wading in an upright position or using natural bridges. They lost the instinct to swim.

Leela Davis, The Matrix of Comparative Anthropogeny (MOCA) - Behaviour in water Center for academic research and training in anthropogeny

In every "yes" story however it is mentioned apes can swim, but they don't like water. Chimpansees will actually sink ! their body/fat ratio is too small.

Your ape-human is 6-7 feet, max 105kg. That sounds like light weight for an ape of that size. Is that muscle ? It does not have a lot of body fat ?

Really big apes like gorilla's are separated from the public in zoos using water.

Young apes do like playing in the water, some sources suggest.

My guess would be it could need a lesson. See that one or two apes in your pack knows how to swim.. that is how it was done researching Chimpansees, ref:

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    $\begingroup$ Oh, for chimpanzees and orangs we know for sure that they can swim, but they strongly avoid ever getting in a situation where is swimming is necessary. (That's why water barriers work.) For gorillas we don't know. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Mar 28 at 17:32
  • $\begingroup$ @AlexP yep.. most stories say they don't have the reflex and they hate the water. But there are plenty of examples of swimming apes, there are scientific observations (see last link) $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    Mar 28 at 17:37
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, I edited the last link to provide a proper citation. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Mar 28 at 17:37
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Swim like a Sloth

enter image description here

Sloths can swim faster than they crawl of climb. Your apes are like big sloths. Longer arms than legs. Elongated neck. Belly full of fermenting vegetation. Yep, sounds like a big sloth alright. Big sloth swim good.

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  • $\begingroup$ These apes are humanoid, genus Homo.. $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    Mar 29 at 6:11
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I'm pretty sure they'd be great at swimming. The larger chest would indeed give increased lung capacity, and, because they climb around in trees, their arms would be more than strong enough to propel them through water, even though they have short legs.

Although, I'd say that even though they can swim, they won't particularly like water. Swimming isn't really necessary for a forest dwelling creature, so I guess it depends on where your creatures live.

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  • $\begingroup$ "Great" is relative. Humans can swim but we are pretty terrible at it compared to other land animals that can also swim. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Mar 29 at 16:39

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