Monkeys are primates that can only be found in tropical rainforests. The majority of monkeys are arboreal, while some are terrestrial, such as macaques and baboons. New World monkeys, such as spider monkeys, tamarins, and capuchins, may be found in Mexico, South and Central America, Asia, and Africa, whereas Old World monkeys, such as baboons, geladas, and colobus monkeys, can be found in Asia and Africa. Many monkey species are threatened with extinction.
These intelligent primates come in approximately 200 different species.
Discover the most amazing facts about monkeys, from strong prehensile tails to highly clever tool use.
1. Monkeys aren’t the only primates. The name “monkey” is commonly used to refer to all members of the primate family, although the truth is that monkeys and apes (i.e., chimps, gorillas, and humans) are on completely distinct branches of the evolutionary tree (i.e., lemurs, tarsiers, and lorises).
The tail is one major distinction between monkeys and other primates: most monkeys have tails, but apes and other primates have not. Apes are also larger and more intelligent than monkeys, owing to their larger brains.
2. There Are a Lot of Monkeys in Danger Due to a combination of circumstances dependent on their specific location, several of the most fascinating monkey species are undergoing dramatic population decreases. Habitat loss and fragmentation, live capture for the worldwide pet trade, and hunting for bushmeat or traditional remedies are the most serious threats.
Many monkeys around the world are endangered. The IUCN’s list of the 25 most endangered primates includes several of them. The rollaway monkey, Niger Delta red colobus, and Cat Ba langur are among the most critically endangered Old World monkeys; only 50 individuals of the latter exist. Cotton-headed tamarins, Ecuadorian white-fronted capuchins, and pied tamarins are all critically endangered New World monkeys.
3. Grooming Is Used To Strengthen Relationships Picking bugs, dirt, and another waste of their friends is a gesture of compassion and love for monkeys, not a judgment of their personal cleanliness. Monkey grooming practices not only keep them healthy but also help them form stronger social relationships.
Another advantage of grooming has been revealed by researchers. When vervet monkeys comb one other’s pelts, the fur fluffs up and thickens. The insulating value of the vervet monkey’s pelt rises by up to 50% after complete grooming.
4. Prehensile tails are found only in New World monkeys. Only howler monkeys and spider monkeys in the Atelidae family, as well as capuchins in the Cebidae family, have prehensile tails. The tropical regions of Mexico, Central America, and South America are home to these arboreal primates. The Old World monkeys of Asia and Africa have prehensile tails but not prehensile tails.
Spider monkeys and howler monkeys outnumber capuchins in terms of length and gripping ability. The tails of spider monkeys are longer than their entire bodies. Their tails are likewise hairless and equipped with friction pads to improve grip. 9 Capuchins, who have shorter hair-covered tails, utilize their tails mostly to catch branches and carry fruit through the jungle.
5. In Europe, there are only one species of wild monkey. Barbary macaques are the only nonhuman primates that live in the wild in Europe. While the majority of Barbary macaques live in the highlands of Morocco and Algeria, Gibraltar has a small colony of roughly 200 individuals. These macaques, who have been in Gibraltar for centuries, were initially introduced from Northern Africa, according to DNA tests.
Barbary macaques are considered endangered in all sections of their range, and their number has decreased by more than half in the last 24 years.
6. Pygmy Marmosets are the tiniest monkeys on the planet. This little New World monkey is native to the Amazon Basin of South America and grows to be roughly five inches long and weighs around four ounces as an adult. Pygmy marmosets (Callithrix pygmaea) cohabit in groups of two to six people, with monogamous pairs sharing parental responsibilities. Females give birth to one to three infants, with fraternal twins being common.
Although the pygmy marmoset is the tiniest monkey, Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur is the smallest living primate.
7. Mandrills are the largest monkeys on the planet. Mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx) are easily identified by the brilliant colors on their faces and behinds. They occur in the tropical rainforests of central west Africa. Mandrills are distinguished from other monkeys by their significant sexual dimorphism in size, in addition to their color. 14 Adult female mandrills weigh roughly 25 pounds on average, whereas adult male mandrills weigh anything from 55 to 119 pounds.
8. A Bald Uakari’s Face Color May Indicate Its Health The faces of bald uakari are strikingly red. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the brighter the face, the healthier these New World monkeys are, according to scientists. People who are sick — usually with malaria, which is common in their rainforest habitat — have a lighter skin tone.
These monkeys have exceptional color vision, which aids them in determining which individuals are the healthiest and most suitable for mating.
9. Capuchins Know How to Use Tools, Capuchins were one of the first primates, aside from apes, to be documented in the wild using highly sophisticated tools. Wild bearded capuchins have been utilizing stone tools for almost 3,000 years, according to an archaeological investigation of capuchin stone tool use. During that period, their tool use evolved, which was previously thought to be a human-only skill.
The way capuchins split open nuts — by placing them on pitted stone “anvils” and then pounding them hard with another rock — is the most common example of sophisticated tool use. They changed the size of their instruments over time, according to the archaeological study, employing smaller stones for seeds and softer nuts. Capuchins’ intellect is also demonstrated by the way they rub crushed millipedes over their bodies to repel mosquitos and other insects.
10. The Howler Monkeys are the loudest of all the monkeys. While all monkeys can communicate, howler monkeys have one of the most audible sounds of any land mammal. The roar of a howler monkey can be heard from three kilometers away. Male howler monkeys are larger and more vocal than female howler monkeys. The howler monkey’s loud voice is caused by a physical adaption of the species: an enlarged hyoid bone in their necks.
11. Macaques from Japan Soak in a soothing hot tub.
Snow monkeys, sometimes known as Japanese macaques, have adapted to flourish in a variety of climates ranging from subtropical to subarctic.
At Jigokudani Monkey Park in Yamanouchi, Japan, snow monkeys frequent the volcanic hot springs (onsens).
This behavior appears to be an adaptation to the cold climate, however, researchers have discovered that the monkeys’ stress levels are reduced when they take hot showers.