Monkeys belong to the parvorders Platyrrhini and Catarrhini. This makes the mammal paraphyletic, without any distinct coherent group.
The New Age Monkeys range in size from around 160 millimeters (Pygmy Marmoset), to almost a meter (Mandrill). While some monkey species are arboreal or display a preference for tree dwellings, others are sighted in locations as distant as the Savanna. The diet of the monkey comprises fruits, wild berries, leaves, seeds, nuts, eggs, flowers and other smaller animals and insects. The species is characterized by prehensile tails and a trichromatic color vision.
Monkey habitat is identified across Asia, Africa and Central and South America. The species is rarely seen in the wild in Australia, North America or Antarctica. The mammals show a distinct preference for the tropical rainforests. A few are also sighted in mountainous regions, plains and grasslands. Depending on the terrain of their natural habitat, monkeys live in trees or on the ground. In the ecology of the rainforest, the species plays a very vital role in dispersion of seed. Most monkeys avoid wetlands, but are good swimmers. New World Monkeys mostly inhabit Central and South America, while their Old World counterparts are a common sight on the terrains of Asia and Africa.
Most of the monkeys that spend their lives in trees have a prehensile tail that acts as an extra limb, as seen in the case of spider, howler, and owl monkeys. The Saki monkeys, that inhabit the mountainous terrains of South America, have coarse fur, an adaptation that enables the mammal to remain dry during the frequent rain spells in the region. The Amazon rainforest is a perfect monkey habitat. Due to its wet and very hot climatic conditions, the Woolly monkeys that inhabit the region and that along the Amazon basin and mountain ranges of Peru, live high up in the tree canopies. The Asian and African Old World monkeys enjoy more varied habitats. They are both arboreal and terrestrial. Humans are the biggest threat to the species. Encroachment along forest fringes, indiscriminate logging and hunting the mammals for meat are taking a toll on monkey habitat and extant numbers.
Did you know:
The Howler Monkey howls at dawn and dusk every day. Its howl can be heard as far as 6km away from its habitat! It is recognized as the loudest land mammal in the world.
Some monkeys can survive more than forty years.
The baboon is the largest monkey (not the largest primate though), while the owl monkey (also known as the Douroucouli) is the only nocturnal monkey found in the world today.
We don't approve:
Different sub-species of monkey are domesticated to serve as pets, model laboratory specimens and even on space missions. Albert II, was the first monkey in space, aboard the V-2 rocket launched in 1949. In many countries, these primates are trained to serve as service-animals for the disabled. These capuchin monkey helpers are trained to assist quadriplegics and people with impaired mobility. Why not hire a nurse? So many people are unemployed and can really benefit from such work.
Macaques and the African Green Monkeys are used extensively in animal testing facilities due to their physical and psychological similarity to humans. Testing on animals is not cruel, if not humans would volunteer as test subjects.