A monkey is a long-tailed, medium-sized member of the order of Primates. The primate order also includes macaques, baboons, guenons, capuchins, marmosets, and tamarins.
Monkeys today are a member of two of the three groups of simian primates, the New World monkeys and the Old World monkeys, of which there are 264 known species. Apes and chimpanzees are not scientifically classified as monkeys, a common misconception due to their physical similarities.
Some distinguishing features between New World and Old World monkeys include the tail. Most New World monkeys have prehensile tails while Old World monkeys do not. The facial features of each group of monkeys also differ substantially; however, there are a number of shared features as well.
Monkeys are a very diverse family of species, ranging in size from the 5-6 inch Pygmy Marmoset, to the adult male Mandrill, which can be 3 feet tall. Some monkeys spend the majority if their lives in treetops, while others call savannas and grasslands home. Most monkeys survive of a diet of fruit, leaves, nuts, berries, eggs, insects and they occasionally hunt other smaller animals.
Our closest living relatives may have a drinking habit. Scientists spied intoxicated wild chimps soaking up palm wine with leaves and squeezing it into their mouths. It's the first time scientists have confirmed nonhuman primates habitually drink alcohol.
You may not want to hand them an apron and spatula just yet, but chimpanzees have many of the smarts to cook food, researchers found in a series of experiments with sweet potatoes and carrots.
Apes, which include gorillas, bonobos, chimpanzees, orangutans, gibbons, siamangs — and people — are humanity's closest living relatives. Humans and chimps share about 98 percent of their DNA.
Next month, the New York State Supreme Court will hear arguments about whether two research chimpanzees, named Hercules and Leo, should be considered persons, not property, entitled to the same rights as humans.
Jane Goodall, the British primatologist who gained worldwide fame for her studies of wild chimpanzees in East Africa, greeted a packed audience here at the Brooklyn Academy of Music last night (April 15) with a series of apelike howls.