The great apes play an important role as model organisms. They are our closest living relatives, allowing us to identify the genetic basis of phenotypic traits that we think of as characteristically human. However, the most significant asset of great apes as model organisms is that they share with humans most of their genetic makeup. This means that we can extend our vast knowledge of the human genome, its genes, and the associated phenotypes to these species. Comparative genomic studies of humans and apes thus reveal how very similar genomes react when exposed to different population genetic regimes. In this way, each species represents a natural experiment, where a genome highly similar to the human one, is differently exposed to the evolutionary forces of demography, population structure, selection, recombination, and admixture/hybridization. The initial sequencing of reference genomes for chimpanzee, orangutan, gorilla, the bonobo, each provided new insights and a second generation of sequencing projects has provided diversity data for all the great apes. In this chapter, we will outline some of the findings that population genomic analysis of great apes has provided, and how comparative studies have helped us understand how the fundamental forces in evolution have contributed to shaping the genomes and the genetic diversity of the great apes.