From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
A Barbary macaque monkey
Macaca sylvanus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Suborder: Haplorhini
Infraorder: Simiiformes


Approximate worldwide distribution of monkeys.

Monkeys are arboreal mammals. They are in the primate order. Apes are the descendants of Old World monkeys.[1] Monkeys are intelligent, social animals. They are famous for climbing trees easily. Almost every monkey has a tail, even if it is very short.[2]

The word "monkey" is not a scientific term. It is used for two rather different groups of primates. The big distinction is between Old World monkeys and New World monkeys.

Both these groups are in the infraorder Simiiformes. That infraorder also includes the great apes and man.

Some monkeys live in trees. Others live partly on the ground. Most monkeys are mainly vegetarian, with a strong preference for fruit. However, they may eat a wide range of other food, including insects. Monkeys can live in forests and savannahs. Monkeys do not live in deserts. They can live in snowy mountains. They most commonly live in rainforests, but there are none in the rainforests of Australia and New Guinea.

Some monkeys are small, about 15 centimetres (6 in) long and 120 grams (4.2 oz) in weight. Other monkeys are much larger, about 1 metre (3 ft 3 in) long and 35 kilograms (77 lb) in weight. A group of monkeys is called a "troop" of monkeys or a "tribe" of monkeys.

Where they live[change | change source]

There are two groups of monkeys that live in different places: the New World Monkeys in South America and the Old World Monkeys from Africa and Asia.[3] New World Monkeys are often smaller than Old World Monkeys.[4] Monkeys have long arms and legs to help them swing from trees. Some monkeys' tails can wrap tightly around branches, almost like a "fifth limb".[4] This type of tail is prehensile. Most monkeys are arboreal (live in the trees), but some live on the ground.[3]

Smallest monkey[change | change source]

The smallest known monkey is the pygmy marmoset. It is about 14-16cm in size (without the tail). It weighs about 120 grams. It lives in the treetops of rainforests in Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador. The largest known monkey is the mandrill. It can grow to about 1 m in size. Adults weigh up to 35 kg. The monkeys often climb with the help of their tails.

Origin of name[change | change source]

The word monkey might have come from a popular German story, "Roman de Renart" (Reynard the Fox). In there, the name of the son of Martin the Ape is Moneke.[5]

As food[change | change source]

In Africa, monkeys can be sold as "bushmeat" (meat of wild animals).[6] Monkey brains are eaten in some parts of Africa, South Asia, and China.[7]

References[change | change source]

Related pages[change | change source]

Other websites[change | change source]