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Last updated date: 04th Mar 2024
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Monkey species are the oldest animal species on this earth. We humans have a close relationship with this species. If we go back to their history, we could find that they have been evolving throughout these decades. Monkeys form a different set of species. There are New World Monkeys and Old World Monkeys. Moreover, there are both tree-dwelling and ground-living, such as baboons. The old world monkeys are considered to be very intelligent ones. If we go back to the origin of this species, Simians and Tarsiers emerged around 60 million years ago. In contrast, the New World monkeys appeared about 35 million years ago.

Old World Monkeys and Hominoidea emerged 25 million years ago. One of all the types of monkeys, Apes are considered as the sister of the Cercopithecoidea. However, apes have two pectoral nipples, pendulous penis and other differences. Apes too are the monkey representative species. 

A Short Overview of Monkeys

Right from the monkey history or origin until date, there are around 260 species of monkeys found globally. Originated millions of years ago, there is not just information about the actual evolution of these species. However, they have been living and evolved for over 50 million years. Many monkey representative species are living in some parts of countries, especially in deep forest regions.

What makes these species unique from others is the adaptability to different environments. They can jump from one tree to another or walk on the ground. Moreover, they can consume different varieties of food, mostly fruits. Social groups in them are quite interesting to watch. This is why they maintain good order and stay in groups. They can be useful if treated well but can turn fatal if humans get into the attacking mood.

Another exciting thing about monkey species is their method of communication. They use different calls, clicks and chatter to communicate with each other. Many animal experts believe that these monkeys can develop unique variations when it comes to the language.

If you wonder how monkeys move, they use two legs and two hands for walking purposes and are flexible to hang on trees. However, every year, there are many cases of monkeys falling from trees as they jump from one end to another, breaking their bones.

These species come in varied shape and size. The smallest in the world is pygmy marmoset, which weighs around only 4 ounces. The largest in the world is 77 pounds and is 3 feet long.

Different Monkey Species

There are different genus and species of monkeys in the world. These species are found globally and have evolved over the years. These are also differentiated through different mediums. Below are some of the common monkey species names.

  • Capuchin Monkey

The subfamily of monkeys belongs to the New World Monkey, it only lives in trees. These monkeys are highly active during the daytime. During the nighttime, they hide from predators and take some rest. These monkeys are also intelligent among the community. When it comes to the physical structure, they have dark legs, arms and tail. Moreover, they can be 22 inches long in the body and carry a long tail.

  • Baboon

One of the exciting things about Baboon is they share 91% of DNA similarities with humans. In many senses, this particular species is known as the Ape. This species alone has 5 different types and are the part of Old World Monkeys. Baboons can weigh up to 90 pounds and the smaller one up to 30 pounds. They spend a lot of time sitting on the ground and are usually heavy. The padded area on the buttocks makes it easy to sit. These monkeys carry greyish colour and brown.

  • Blue Monkey

This type of monkey is unique in terms of look and is known as the Diademed Monkey. Coming from the Old Monkey World, Blue Monkeys carry little hair on their face. Moreover, the body has an olive colour with patches of white and black. These monkeys are usually found in older parts of Africa, especially in Congo because of the deep forest region, and they love to stay in such an environment.

  • Howler Monkey

Falling under the category of New World Monkey, these monkeys are known for howling purposes. They howl when the sun rises and sets. This is the loudest of all monkey species. These monkeys carry a long tail and use it for picking items. They are mostly found in South and Central America. They usually stay high from the ground as they get a lot to eat.

  • Japanese Macaque

One of the most famous monkey representative species, Japanese Macaque is also called the Snow Monkey. It belongs to the Old World species and plays a vital role in the Buddhist religion. This monkey species has brown and grey fur, and the face is red with a shorter tail. As the name suggests, these monkeys usually belong to the Japan native but are also found in Laredo Texas. One of the unique features of this monkey is they can live in cold temperatures.

  • Pygmu Marmoset

Known as the Pocket Monkey, Pygmu Marmoset, these monkeys are the smallest compared to the rest. They weigh less than 5 ounces, even after full maturity. They appear round and fat but have the ability to cling from one tree to others. These monkeys are mostly found in Columbia, Brazil, Ecuador and Bolivia.

  • Rhesus Macaque

Belonging to the Old World category, Rhesus Macaque belongs to the Old World monkey. These monkeys are small and carry pink faces having no fur over it. Rhesus Macaque monkeys are usually found in the Northern part of India, Thailand, and South China. They like open areas and mostly live in a mountainous region.

  • Vervet Monkey

There are five different subspecies of this monkey, and it carries a unique appearance, separating from other monkeys. Vervet monkeys have black faces and grey in the rest of the body. These monkeys are found in Africa, Ethiopia and Somalia. Moreover, they like to spend much of their time alongside rivers, woodlands and mountains.

Difference Between Old World and New World Monkeys

For many people, the only image of monkeys is that they keep swinging on trees. However, if we go deeper to know about monkey species, there are more than 260 species around the world. These are divided into two groups- New World and Old World.

  • Old World monkeys are usually those who are found in European, African and Asian countries. New world monkeys are usually found in America and other central regions.

  • New world monkeys have five different members (Callitrichidae, Cebidae, Aotidae, Pitheciidae, and Atelidae). Old World monkeys belong to the family of Cercopithecoidea and have species like Baboons and Vervet monkeys.

  • One way to find the difference between these two types of monkeys is through their tails. New world monkeys carry prehensile tails helping them to hold objects, especially food. On the other hand, old world monkeys carry long and small tails but lack the ability to grasp any objects.

  • Old world monkeys spend most of their time on the ground, whereas their counterparts mainly stay on trees.

  • When it comes to the physical structure, New World Monkeys carry premolar teeth. Old ones have fingernails and toenails, compared to the new ones who carry claws.

  • One of the major differences you will find in old and new world monkeys is how they carry their young ones. In New World Monkeys, you will see male ones carrying an infant on their back, which is rare in old ones. Old World monkey females carry babies on their bellies, whereas new ones have babies on their backs.

  • Another major difference between the two worlds is the foods or the diet they carry. New World monkeys usually prefer for fruits, Old World monkeys prefer leaves and grass.

  • One of the interesting differences between the two is the way they see the world. Old World Monkeys can see the world in Black and White. New World Monkeys will see the world in colour, just how we humans look at. However, all monkeys carry good eyesight.


Extinction of animals is a common thing. Like every other animal, monkeys are also facing extinction. For instance, globally there are only 150 Tonkin Snub-Nosed monkeys alive. Then there is the Tana River Red Colobus, which is only in 1000s. However, Hainan Black-crested Gibbon is the most endangered one having only 20 left of all the monkey animal species.

Eating Habits of Monkeys

Monkeys are divided into fruit-eating and leaf-eating monkeys. Fruit-eating monkeys carry larger brains compared to leaf-eating ones. One of the major differences in diet or eating habits between the two worlds of monkeys is that fruit-eating ones carry good metabolism compared to leaf-eating ones. This allows them to quickly move into the forest's larger area to look for more energy-rich food. Spider monkeys, capuchin and titin usually compete for the same fruit trees. The one who is large in the group wins the fruit.

Leaf eating monkeys, on the other hands, are quite slow in eating. They like to stick around the same place for long and enjoy the food. These monkeys carry low metabolism allowing them to eat in large quantities. Since they carry a large size intestine, they can hold more food for long hours.

Monkey Group Behavior

No matter what type or which world these monkeys belong to, they always live in groups and have good social behaviour. In many groups, females are in large numbers compared to males. In non-group, males usually live alone or in groups.

Male monkeys usually have the majority control over the group. This happens, either by defeating the dominant male or by taking over the position by luring some female monkeys and forming his own group. This is quite similar behaviour as humans do in real life.

Some Interesting Facts about Monkey Family:

  • If you are wondering how do monkeys move, it is easy to know. They use both legs and hands for moving around or jumping from one tree to another.

  • Proboscis monkeys eat unripe fruit because of the sugar ferments in ripe fruits. This fermentation leads to bloating and other health issues in them.

  • According to NASA, the first living creature in space was Rhesus monkey and was named Albert 1. The launch took place on June 11, 1948.

  • The bright blue and red colours you will find on Mandrill monkeys' faces brighten up when they are excited. In case, when they stock food, there are pouches on their cheeks.

  • Howler monkey troops yell, their sound is audible even up to three miles.

  • One of the ways monkeys show affection to each other is by grooming.

  • South American Titi Monkeys are quite rare. They mate for life and show their affection to each other by grooming.

  • Old World monkeys and humans are connected to each other by sharing a common ancestor. According to scientists, the evolution of old world monkeys began by around 30 million years ago.

FAQs on Monkey

1: When Do Monkeys Mate?

The maturity age among monkeys differs according to the species. Most of the monkeys mate at the age from 4 to 8 yrs. Post mating, the female takes 160 days to deliver the new arrival. In many of these species, female monkeys give birth to twins. When the young ones are born, they stay with mom, holding her tight.

2: What are the Differences Between Apes and Monkeys?

Monkeys and apes both belong to Primates, which mean they are both part of the human family tree. One of the easiest ways to find the difference between the two is the absence and presence of tails. Every monkey carries tail, while apes do not. Furthermore, monkeys have a narrow size chest, compared to apes, which have a broad chest. Apes are more intelligent than monkeys. Moreover, both these types use sound and gesture for communication. If you know about monkey features, you can differentiate with apes.

3: What is Special about Monkeys?

Although monkey features are not similar to humans, they still have a large size brain compared to humans. Monkeys are smarter compared to primates like the Apes and lemurs. Monkeys are quite calm until they are angry.