One of the distinctive features of this family is the presence of small naked callosities on the buttocks; another being a difference in the number of vertebrae and ribs as compared with those of the Simiidae.
A large space around the greatly developed callosities on the buttocks, as well as the upper part of the insides of the thighs, is naked and of a crimson colour, shading off on the sides to lilac or blue, which, depending upon injection of the superficial blood-vessels, varies in intensity according to the condition of the animal - increasing under excitement, fading during sickness, and disappearing after death.
Callosities, or bare patches covered with hardened and thickened epidermis, are found on the buttocks of many apes, the breast of camels, the inner side of the limbs of Equidae, the grasping under-surface of the tail of prehensile-tailed monkeys, opossums; &c. The greater part of the skin of the onehorned Asiatic rhinoceros is immensely thickened and stiffened by an increase of the tissue of both the skin and epidermis, constituting the well-known jointed " armour-plated " hide of those animals.
It has been suggested that the above-mentioned callosities or " chestnuts " on the limbs of horses are vestigial scent-glands; and it is noteworthy that scrapings or shavings from their surface have a powerful attraction for other horses, and are also used by poachers and burglars to keep dogs silent.
They have large cheek-pouches, large naked callosities, often brightly coloured, on the buttocks, and short thick limbs, adapted rather to walking than to climbing.