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Fossil range: Late Eocene–Present
|Cladistically included but traditionally excluded groups|
The word "monkey" is a common-language term. It includes two rather different groups of primates. The big distinction is between Old World monkeys and New World monkeys. Some examples of monkeys are macaques, baboons, guenons and marmosets.
- Old World monkeys: Cercopithecidae. Apes are the descendants of Old World monkeys.
- New World Monkeys: Platyrrhini or Ceboidea (same thing in effect)
Some monkeys live almost entirely in trees. Others live partly on the ground. Monkeys are mainly vegetarian, with a strong preference for fruit. However, they may eat a wide range of other food, including insects. Monkeys can live in forests and savannahs, but not in deserts. Some can live in snowy mountains, but more live in rainforests. There are none in the rainforests of Australia and New Guinea. Apparently, they never reached those islands.
Some monkeys are small, about 15 centimetres (6 in) long and 120 grams (4.2 oz) in weight. Other monkeys are much larger, about 1 metre (3 ft 3 in) long and 35 kilograms (77 lb) in weight. A group of monkeys is called a "troop" of monkeys or a "tribe" of monkeys.
The two groups of monkeys live in different places: the New World Monkeys in South America and the Old World Monkeys live mainly in Africa and Asia. New World Monkeys are often smaller than Old World Monkeys. 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". This type of tail is 'prehensile'.
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 monkeys often climb with the help of their tails.
- Fleagle, J.; Gilbert, C.. "Primate Evolution: John Fleagle and Chris Gilbert". Primate Conservation, Inc.. http://alltheworldsprimates.org/john_fleagle_public.aspx. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
- Groves 2008, pp. 92–93.
- "Monkey". kids.britannica.com. http://kids.britannica.com/elementary/article-353485/monkey. Retrieved 31 December 2010.
- Dawkins, Richard (2004). The ancestor's tale: a pilgrimage to the dawn of evolution. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 140. . https://books.google.com/?id=Tub-X6wydKgC&pg=PA140&dq=dawkins+monkey+paraphyletic&q=. Retrieved 2008-08-24.
- "Monkeys at Animal Corner". animalcorner.co.uk. http://www.animalcorner.co.uk/wildlife/monkeys/monkey_about.html. Retrieved 31 December 2010.
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- "Primate Bushmeat : Populations Exposed To Simian Immunodeficiency Viruses". sciencedaily.com. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/04/020403025234.htm. Retrieved 31 December 2010.
- "7 foods for the fearless eater - foodwine - TODAYshow.com". today.msnbc.msn.com. http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/9687163. Retrieved 31 December 2010.
- "The impossible housing and handling conditions of monkeys in research laboratories", by Viktor Reinhardt, International Primate Protection League, August 2001
- The problem with pet monkeys: reasons monkeys do not make good pets, an article by veterinarian Lianne McLeod on About.com
- Helping hands: monkey helpers for the disabled, a U.S. national non-profit organization based in Boston Massachusetts that places specially trained capuchin monkeys with people who are paralyzed or who live with other severe mobility impairments.