Types of Monkeys
If a person spots a monkey, it could be one of 260 species found in the world today. The primates have been around for millions of years and there is very little information as to how they came to be. These primates can range in size from about 4 ounces to some that weigh up to 77 pounds, and most of them have tails. The Pygmy Marmoset is the smallest type of monkey, and the largest is the mandrill.
Monkeys are highly adaptable animals and do well in a wide variety of environments, living in trees or on the ground depending on the species. They eat a wide variety of different foods, but for most of the species, fruits make up the majority of their diets, though some consume insects as well.
Nearly all monkey species are very sociable and enjoy being around each other, do not prosper in captivity or in isolation. Zoos usually do not usually have enough space for monkeys to live like they would in the wild.
While living in groups called a 'tribe', 'troop' or 'mission', monkeys develop a hierarchy which allows them to maintain order. With many of the species, the female is the authority figure and its offspring often will inherit the social standing of the mothers.
In their groups, communication is very important, and they use a variety of clicks, calls, and chatter to effectively communicate with each other. The 'conversations' could be simple, heated arguments, or show a warning of danger. Many monkey experts believe each group can develop their own unique variation of language as well, allowing them to have a different sound within the same species.
Breeding of monkeys takes place anytime during the year, though most likely will occur when there is an abundance of food. If there is a shortage of food, monkeys will not mate to help control the population. Only one or two young are born with most of the species, and smaller species are most likely the ones that have twins.
Monkeys are very good at caring for their young while nurturing them, teaching them, and correcting them like real human children. The young are quite playful too, curious about the world around them, and even mean to each other sometimes. Depending on the species they will either stay in the same group for life or they will leave when they reach the age of maturity.
A monkey's brain is very large, and they are extremely intelligent animals, able to solve problems, use their minds in mysterious ways, and use tools to create nests, to drink water, and to defend themselves. They also use rocks or sticks as tools for accessing food supplies. Capuchin monkeys are believed to be one of the smartest monkey species.
Most species of monkeys do not have many problems with predators, but there are some that must concern themselves with birds, large cats, the hyena, and others. Unfortunately, humans continue to be the biggest threat to many of the monkey species, when many of them are sold for pets, eaten, or illegally sold for lab tests.
Monkey species are often divided into two groups- Old World monkeys that live in Africa and Asia, and New World monkeys living in South America. An example of the Old World monkey is the baboon and New World money is the marmoset. It is important to remember that apes are not monkeys. Spider monkeys get their name because of their long arms, legs, and tail.
Finally, other common monkey species include squirrel monkey, golden lion tamarin, howler monkey, Japanese macaque, proboscis monkey, Rhesus macaque, and the vervet monkey.
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