Monkeys and Apes

Primates are mammals with forward-facing eyes and very flexible arms, legs, and fingers. They have the ability to grasp with their hands, enabling them to move easily from branch to branch. Primates range in size from the pygmy mouse lemur to the gorilla, weighing over 400 pounds. Most live in the tropics and depend on the forest for their survival.

There are two suborders of primates:

Prosimians include about 50 species, such as lemurs and aye-ayes, and they are more primitive than the anthropoids.

Anthropoids are commonly called the higher primates, and they include monkeys, apes, and hominids.

There are over 200 species of monkeys, and most have visible tails. There are about 14 species of apes, which include orangutans, chimpanzees, and gorillas. Their arms are longer than their legs, and they have no tails.

Primate species

Primates come in many shapes and sizes. The following resources include information on the many species of primates:

The Wisconsin National Primate Research Center offers a group of fact sheets as a starting point to find information on different species of primates.

The Primata offers information on morphology, range, social behavior, ecology, locomotion, and reproduction.

Classification of Monkeys and Apes

The following resources offer detailed information on the classification of higher primates.

The Behavioral Science Department of Palomar College offers detailed information on the taxonomy and general characteristics of prosimians, monkeys, apes, and humans.

The Primate Gallery includes a list of references on primatology, and sources of information on primates and natural history.

Animations of primates

Animations of primates are available from the following sources:

Add images of primates to My Space from Animation Buddy.

Chimpanzees, gorillas, and other primates are available from Cool Clips.

Images of primates

  • Stock photos of primates can be found at Fotosearch.

Many images of primates can be seen at Mongabay.

Copyright free images of primates are available at Wildlife Web.

Sounds of primates

Monkey mania has a wide selection of monkey sounds.

Other Sources

See and hear African primates at home.

Printable activities are available for kids including puzzles, mazes, and coloring pages.

Although monkeys and apes are very similar, apes are much more like humans than monkeys are. They possess high intelligence and language capability. The closest relatives to human beings are the chimpanzees.