The Visible Ape Project: A free, comprehensive, web-based anatomical atlas for scientists and veterinarians designed to raise public awareness about apes

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The Visible Ape Project (VAP) is a free online platform providing unprecedented access to a suite of resources designed to comprehensively illustrate and educate about the anatomy of our closest relatives, the apes. It contains photographs, magnetic resonance images, and computed tomography scans, as well as three-dimensional models that can be manipulated to explore homologies and variations in soft and hard tissues in hylobatids, orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees, and bonobos. Based at Howard University, a historically black university, it aims to reach communities underrepresented in anthropology and evolutionary biology, providing educational materials appropriate for K-12 and college classrooms in both English and Spanish. Accordingly, VAP incorporates outreach activities to disseminate science and promote awareness of apes, forming partnerships with veterinarians and conservationists in Africa and Asia. In this paper, we present an introduction to the website to illustrate how this accessible, evolving resource can support evolutionary anthropology and related disciplines.

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