Monkey See . . . or Is That an Ape? | God's World News

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Monkey See . . . or Is That an Ape?
Critter File
Posted: September 01, 2023
  • 1 Monkey or Ape
    An orangutan climbs trees in East Kalimantan, Indonesia. (AP/Achmad Ibrahim)
  • 2 Monkey or Ape
    A southern pig-tailed macaque licks its fingers. Both monkeys and apes have hands that can grasp branches. (AP/Martin Meissner)
  • 3 Monkey or Ape
    Can you guess whether chimpanzees like these are monkeys or apes? Hint: They don’t have tails. (Pixabay)
  • 4 Monkey or Ape
    Mandrills are known for their colorful noses. The species is one of the largest monkey species. (Pixabay)
  • 5 Monkey or Ape
    Monkeys have larger noses than apes. And proboscis monkeys have some of the longest noses of all! (Pixabay)
  • 1 Monkey or Ape
  • 2 Monkey or Ape
  • 3 Monkey or Ape
  • 4 Monkey or Ape
  • 5 Monkey or Ape


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Monkeys belong to an animal group called primates. Apes belong to that group too. Do you ever accidentally call an orangutan a monkey? Or mislabel a macaque as an ape?

Not anymore! Learn your monkeys from your apes below.

God designed both monkeys and apes for life in trees. You can see that in the ways they are alike:

• Forward-facing eyes for good depth perception let them judge distance between trees.

• Flexible arms and legs for moving about and balancing

• Hands that can grasp branches

But there are lots of ways in which they are different: 

Apes: Fewer than two dozen species

Monkeys: About 260 species

Apes: Larger, heavier, broad back and chest

Monkeys: Smaller, longer, and narrower chest and shoulders, skeleton more like cat or dog

Apes: Arms longer than legs

Monkey: Arms and legs about same length

Apes: No tail

Monkeys: Almost all have tails, and New World monkeys (from Mexico, Central and South America) have prehensile tails. That means they can be used to grasp and swing.

Apes: Opposable thumbs on both hands and feet

Monkeys: Most have opposable thumbs on hands only.

Apes: Shorter nose

Monkeys: Longer nose

Apes: Larger brains, better at some kinds of problem solving

Monkeys: Smaller brains

Apes: See in full color

Monkeys: Only some see in full color

Apes: More upright posture, “knuckle walk” by leaning forward onto hands, and swing from branch to branch

Monkeys: Walk on all fours and run along branches

Apes: Live only in Africa and Southern Asia, spend time both on ground and in trees

Monkeys: Live in Africa, Asia, Mexico, and South and Central America. They spend almost all their time in trees.

Apes: Live up to about 60 years

Monkeys: Live up to about 45 years