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monkey: Wikis



File:Cebus albifrons
A young male White-fronted Capuchin (Cebus albifrons).
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Suborder: Haplorrhini
Infraorder: Simiiformes
in part
Approximate worldwide distribution of monkeys. Old World monkeys in red, New World in orange.


A monkey is any cercopithecoid (Old World monkey) or platyrrhine (New World monkey) primate. All primates that are not prosimians (lemurs and tarsiers) or apes are monkeys. The 264 known extant monkey species represent two of the three groupings of simian primates (the third group being the 21 species of apes). Monkeys are usually smaller and/or longer-tailed than apes.

The New World monkeys are classified within the parvorder Platyrrhini, whereas the Old World monkeys (superfamily Cercopithecoidea) form part of the parvorder Catarrhini, which also includes the apes. Thus, scientifically speaking, monkeys are paraphyletic (not a single coherent group), and Old World monkeys are actually more closely related to the apes than they are to the New World monkeys.

Due to its size (up to 1 m/3 ft) the Mandrill is often thought to be an ape, but it is actually an Old World monkey. Also, a few monkey species have the word "ape" in their common name.



in Nelliampathi mountains, Kerala, South India.]]

Monkeys range in size from the Pygmy Marmoset, at 140 to 160 millimetres (5-6 in) long (plus tail) and 120 to 140 grams (4-5 oz) in weight, to the male Mandrill, almost 1 metre (3.3 ft) long and weighing 35 kilograms (77 lb). Some are arboreal (living in trees) while others live on the savanna; diets differ among the various species but may contain any of the following: fruit, leaves, seeds, nuts, flowers, eggs, and small animals (including insects and spiders).

Some characteristics are shared among the groups; most New World monkeys have prehensile tails while Old World monkeys have non-prehensile tails or no visible tail at all. Some have trichromatic color 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, though again, each group shares some features such as the types of noses, cheeks, and rumps.


According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word "monkey" may originate in a German version of the Reynard the Fox fable, published circa 1580. In this version of the fable, a character named Moneke is the son of Martin the Ape. The word Moneke may have been derived from the Italian monna, which means "a female ape". The name Moneke likely persisted over time due to the popularity of Reynard the Fox.

A group of monkeys may be referred to as a mission or a tribe.



in Thailand.]]

The following list shows where the various monkey families (bolded) are placed 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 considered scientifically incorrect as apes are distinctly defined as different from monkeys.[1] Apes were included in earlier use of the term, predating modern classifications.[2] Including some or all apes (other than humans) remained the common usage in the early 20th century[3] and is still in colloquial use.[4] Calling either a simian is correct.

Relationship with humans

The many species of monkey have varied relationships with humans. Some are kept as pets, others used as model organisms in laboratories or in space missions. They may be killed in monkey drives when they threatened agriculture, or serve as service animals for the disabled.

In religion and culture, the monkey often represents quick-wittedness and mischief.

As service animals for the disabled

Some organizations train capuchin monkeys as monkey helpers to assist quadriplegics and other people with severe spinal cord injuries or mobility impairments. After being socialized in a human home as infants, the monkeys undergo extensive training before being placed with a quadriplegic. Around the house, the monkeys help out by doing tasks including microwaving food, washing the quadriplegic's face, and opening drink bottles.

In experiments

primate-testing lab, Vienna, Virginia, 2004-5.[5]]]

Macaques, especially the Rhesus Macaque, and African Green Monkeys are widely used in animal testing facilities, either wild-caught or purpose-bred.[6] They are used primarily because of their relative ease of handling, their fast reproductive cycle (compared to apes), and their psychological and physical similarity to humans. In the United States, around 50,000 non-human primates, most of them monkeys, have been used in experiments every year since 1973;[7] 10,000 monkeys were used in the European Union in 2004. , was flown to a height of 55 miles (89 km) by NASA in 1959.]]

The use of monkeys in laboratories is controversial. Some claim[who?] that their use is cruel and produces little information of value, and there have been many protests, vandalism to testing facilities, and threats to workers. Others claim[who?] that it has led to many important medical breakthroughs such as the rabies vaccine, understanding of human reproduction and basic knowledge about brain function, and that the prevention of harm to humans should be a higher priority than the possible harm done to monkeys. The topic has become a popular cause for animal rights and animal welfare groups.

In space

A number of countries have used monkeys as part of their space exploration programmes, including the United States and France. The first monkey in space was Albert II who flew in the US-launched V-2 rocket in June 14 1949.

As food

Monkey brains are eaten as a delicacy in South Asia, China, and Africa.[8] In traditional Islamic dietary laws, monkeys are forbidden to be eaten. However, monkeys are sometimes eaten in parts of Africa, where they can be sold as "bushmeat".[9]


Sun Wukong (the "Monkey King"), a character who figures prominently in Chinese mythology, is the main protagonist in the classic comic Chinese novel Journey to the West.

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

shrine in Tokyo, Japan.]]

However, pop culture often incorrectly labels apes, particularly chimpanzees, gibbons, and gorillas, as monkeys. Terry Pratchett makes use of the distinction 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.

The Winged monkeys are prominent characters in The Wizard of Oz.

Religion and worship

Hanuman, a prominent divine entity in Hinduism, is a monkey-like humanoid. He may bestow longevity.

In Buddhism, the monkey is an early incarnation of Buddha but may also represent trickery and ugliness. The Chinese Buddhist "mind monkey" metaphor refers to the unsettled, restless state of human mind. Monkey is also one of the Three Senseless Creatures, symbolizing greed, with the tiger representing anger and the deer lovesickness.

The Mizaru or three wise monkeys are revered in Japanese folklore.[10]

The Moche people of ancient Peru worshipped nature.[11] They placed emphasis on animals and often depicted monkeys in their art.[12]


Template:Globalise In the Tamil country, monkeys were used for entertainment. The owner trains monkeys to perform gymnastics in public. Even today, it could be practiced in remote villages.Template:Fact


The Monkey is the ninth in the twelve-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The next time that the monkey will appear as the zodiac sign will be in the year 2016.

See also

[[Image:|32x28px]] Mammals portal


  1. [1]
  2. Definition of Monkey in Merriam Webster's Online Dictionary
  3. Encyclopaedia Britannica 1911: Monkey
  4. Webster's New World College Dictionary, 4th Ed: Monkey
  5. "Covance Cruelty", People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
  6. "The supply and use of primates in the EU", European Biomedical Research Association.
  7. Template:PDF[dead link]
  8. Some bravery as a side dish
  10. Cooper, JC (1992). Symbolic and Mythological Animals. London: Aquarian Press. pp. 161–63. ISBN 1-85538-118-4. 
  11. Benson, Elizabeth, The Mochica: A Culture of Peru. New York, NY: Praeger Press. 1972
  12. Berrin, Katherine & Larco Museum. The Spirit of Ancient Peru:Treasures from the Museo Arqueológico Rafael Larco Herrera. New York: Thames & Hudson, 1997.

External links


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Wikipedia has an article on:


A monkey.



From Middle Low German Moneke (cf. Old French Monequin), name of the son of Martin the Ape in Reynard the Fox, from Romance (cf. Old Italian monna, Old Spanish mona) 'mona monkey', perhaps from Arabic ميمون (maimun) 'monkey', literally 'blessed', used to ward off the monkey's bad luck.




monkey (plural monkeys)

  1. Any of several members of the infra-order Simiiformes of primates, generally smaller than the apes, and distinguished from them by having a tail and cheek pouches.
  2. (informal) A mischievous child.
    Stop misbehaving, you little monkey!
  3. (British, slang) Five-hundred pounds sterling.
  4. (slang) A person or the role of the person on the sidecar platform of a motorcycle involved in sidecar racing.
  5. (slang) A person with minimal inteligence and/or (bad) looks .
  6. (rare, pejorative, slang) A dark-skinned person, especially a person of, or primarily of, Negro descent. See also nigger and/or jigaboo.
  7. (slang) A face card in blackjack



to monkey

Third person singular

Simple past
monkeyed or monkied

Past participle
[[monkeyed or monkied]]

Present participle

to monkey (third-person singular simple present monkeys, present participle monkeying, simple past and past participle monkeyed or monkied)

  1. (informal) To meddle; to mess with; to interfere; to fiddle.
    Please don't monkey with the controls if you don't know what you're doing.

Derived terms

See also

Simple English

For the band, see The Monkees.
File:Gibraltar Barbary
A Barbary Macaque monkey (Macaca sylvanus)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Suborder: Haplorrhini
Infraorder: Simiiformes
in part
Approximate worldwide distribution of monkeys.


Worldwide range of monkeys.

Monkeys are mammals that are in a group called primates. Apes are not monkeys.[1] They are clever, social animals who are famous for climbing trees easily. Almost every monkey has a tail, even if it is very short.[2]

There are many different kinds of monkeys. Some monkeys live in trees, others live on the ground. Different primate families eat fruit, leaves, insects, flowers, small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, crabs or even other monkeys. They can be kept as pets but due to their high intelligence and advanced emotional needs are not suggested. Monkeys can live in forests, savannahs, deserts even in snowy mountains snub nosed monkey, Japanese Macaque but are commonly found in worlds rainforests except for Australia and New Guinea.

A group of monkeys is called a "troop" of monkeys or a "tribe" of monkeys.

Some monkeys are very small, about 15 cm long and 120 g in weight, while other monkeys can be very big, about 1 meter long and 35 kg in weight.


Where they live

There are two groups of monkeys that live in different places: the New World Monkeys in South America and the Old World Monkeys from Africa and Asia.[3] New World Monkeys are often smaller than Old World Monkeys.[4] Monkeys have long arms and legs to help them swing from trees. Some monkeys' tails can wrap tightly around branches, almost like a "fifth limb".[4] Most monkeys are arboreal (live in the trees), but some live on the ground.[3]

Smallest monkey

The smallest known monkey is the Pygmy Marmoset. It is about 14-16cm in size (without the tail). It weighs about 120 grams. It lives in the treetops of rainforests in Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador. The largest known monkey is the Mandrill. It can grow to about 1 m in size. Adults weigh up to 35 kg.


The word monkey might have come from a popular German story, "Roman de Renart" (Reynard the Fox). In there, the name of the son of Martin the Ape is Moneke.[5]

As food

In Africa, monkeys can be sold as "bushmeat" (meat of wild animals).[6] Monkey brains are eaten in some parts of Africa, South Asia, and China.[7]


Related pages

Other websites

English Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:

Citable sentences

Up to date as of December 18, 2010

Here are sentences from other pages on Monkey, which are similar to those in the above article.

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