From Academic Kids

For other meanings, see monkey (disambiguation).
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Monkeys, Mori Sosen (1749-1821)

A monkey is any member of two of the three groupings of simian primates. These two groupings are the New World and Old World monkeys. Because of their similarity to monkeys, apes such as chimpanzees and gibbons are sometimes incorrectly called monkeys. Also, a few monkey species have the word "ape" in their common name. Because they are not a single coherent group, monkeys do not have any important characteristics that they all share and are not shared with the remaining group of simians, the apes.

Monkeys range in size from the Pygmy Marmoset, at 10 cm (4 inch) long (plus tail) and 120 g (4 oz) in weight to the male Mandrill, almost 1 metre (3 ft) long and weighing 35 kg (75 lb). Some are arboreal (living in trees), some live on the savanna; some eat fruit, some eat leaves, and some eat insects; although most have tails (sometimes prehensile), others do not; some have trichromatic colour vision like that of humans, others are dichromats or monochromats. Although both the new and old world monkeys, like the apes, have forward facing eyes, the faces of Old World and New World monkeys look very different. To understand the monkeys, therefore, it is necessary to study the characteristics of the different groups individually.



The following lists shows where the various monkey families (bolded) fall in the Primate classification. Note that the smallest grouping that contains them all is the Simiiformes, the simians, which also contains the apes. Calling apes monkeys is incorrect. Calling either a simian is correct.

Monkeys in pop culture

Monkeys are prevalent in numerous books, tv shows, and movies. The television series Monkey, the literary characters Monsieur Eek and Curious George are all examples.

However, pop culture often incorrectly labels apes, particularly chimpanzees, gibbons, and gorillas, as monkeys. Terry Pratchett makes use of this trait in his Discworld novels, in which the Librarian of the Unseen University is an orangutan who gets very violent if referred to as a monkey.

Monkeys in captivity

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A macaque sits in a cage in a German laboratory. [1] (

Generally, monkeys do not make good pets. While baby monkeys are usually as easy to keep clean as a human infant (by diapering), monkeys that have reached puberty usually remove their diapers and cannot be toilet trained. They require constant supervision and mental stimulation. Bored monkeys can become extremely destructive and may even go so far as to smear or throw their own feces. Most adolescent monkeys begin to unpredictably bite and pinch adults and children alike. Any surgical means to stem this behavior (such removing the teeth or fingertips of the monkey) is widely considered cruel.

While a majority of monkey owners find their monkeys too difficult to manage as pets and find other homes for them (such as zoos and monkey rescues), some people report having long and rewarding relationships with their pet monkeys.

It is usually difficult to find veterinarians who will treat pet monkeys. Even many exotic animal veterinarians are not familiar with them.

In most large metropolitan areas it is illegal to keep monkeys in the home; even in places where they are legal, a USDA government permit is usually required to own them legally in the United States. Their legal status as pets varies in other countries.


The Monkey is the ninth in the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. See: Monkey (zodiac).

See also

da:Abe de:Affen es:Mono fr:Singe nl:Aap (zoogdier) pt:Macaco sk:Opice su:monyet zh:猴


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