The Monkey is quick witted, magnificent, mischievous, and sometimes mysterious. If you visit a zoo, you can spend hours just watching them leap and jump around.
The Monkey has bodies that are similar in a lot of ways to our own. They have flexible arms and legs for grasping and climbing. But you might be surprised that they can not swing through the branches. Only apes and humans can swing from trees. Their shoulders are not designed to allow for swinging.
Most monkeys live in tropical regions in the Americas, Africa, and Asia and spend much of their lives in treetops. They belong to a larger group of mammals called primates. Primates have large brains and hands that grasp. Like other primates, monkeys are very intelligent and curious.
Unlike apes, monkeys usually have tails.
A number of countries have used monkeys as part of their space programs. Including the United States, Russia and France. The first monkey in space was Albert II who flew in a US space ship on June 14, 1949.
Monkeys range in size from the 5-6 inches long up to 3 feet long. Some are live in trees while others live on the ground. Their diet differ among the various species. Usually contains any of the following: fruit, leaves, seeds, nuts,flowers, eggs, insects and even small animals. and small animals.
All monkeys can use their hands and feet for holding on to branches. Some monkeys can use their tails, too.
Monkeys are divided into Old World or New World
Monkeys are found in two main regions of the world. Scientists have grouped them as either Old World monkeys or New World monkeys.
Old World are found in Africa and Asia.
New World are found in Mexico, Central America, and South America.
There are a few characteristics that are different between the Old World and New World monkeys:
Their Noses— Most Old World have small curved nostrils set close together. Most New World have round nostrils set far apart.
Cheek pouches— Old World have cheek pouches, where food is stuffed on the run so it can be chewed later. New World do not have cheek pouches.
Sitting pads— Some Old World have sitting pads on their rumps. New World ones do not.
Monkey Tails— Some New World ones, such as spider monkeys, have tails that can grasp or hold objects. Old World ones do not. The Barbary macaque monkey has no tail at all!
Birth is varies by species. The pygmy marmoset lives in a group of six. Only the dominant female in the group has babies. After birth the offspring are carried around by the males in the community. They are returned to the mother for nursing.
The lifespan of monkeys depends on the species. In the wild, squirrel monkeys can live up to 20 years. Mandrills live up to 45 years in the wild.
They communicate with hand gestures, facial expressions, and noises called vocalizations. Vocalizations can be quite complex and are often used to warn other monkeys of predators. Mother monkeys can distinguish the vocalizations of their own infants from other babies. There is also evidence that suggests that some species have developed rules for putting together phrases.