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