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Ape vs Monkey Differences and Comparison

Ape vs Monkey Differences and Comparison
Ape vs Monkey

Most of are usually consider them same but that is totally wrong perception. Apes and Monkeys both belong to the human family tree, often called as primates. They are distant relatives and look almost similar but they are very different from each other. They have different physical traits, cognitive abilities, strength, intelligence which is evolved with time. But the prominent difference between apes and monkeys is tail; monkeys have a tail that is easily visible whereas apes don’t have tail. There are only few species of apes, while monkeys species are in hundreds. In terms genetic evolution, ape species are much closer to humans than monkeys are. How to tell the difference between apes and monkeys? As we have to choose one of them as a winner, we have to look into much more detail. Let’s know about these two distant relatives of humans.

4 Ape Species
Closeup Snaps of all 4 Species of Apes

Types of Apes Great & Lesser

The word ‘ape’ and ‘monkey’ are sometimes used interchangeably but it is incorrect. According to scientific classification based on million years of evolution both of them were classified in 4 categories viz. Great Apes, Lesser Apes, Old World monkeys (Africa- Asia-based), and  New World monkeys (America-based), however, all share common ancestors. Old World monkeys and apes belong to a parvorder known as Catarrhini (means hooked-nosed) whereas new world monkeys belong to a social group known as Platyrrhini (means flat-nosed).


Where do monkeys and Apes live?

Old world monkeys are intrinsic to Africa and Asia while new world monkeys can be found in Asia, Africa, Central, and South America. Tropical rain forests in Africa are home to Apes while some of the most intelligent apes “Orangutans” are found in southern Asia.They live on trees as well as land.

On the contrary, New world monkeys generally live in a tree and seldom come on land; they use their ‘fifth limb’ i.e. tail to climb over trees. Old-world monkeys are quite large in comparison to new-world monkeys. Both live and hunt in social groups but apes being more intelligent usually hunt monkeys down.


What do monkeys and apes eat?

Primates eat plants and animals both; they are omnivorous. Apes and Monkeys usually have similar diet constituents; they eat fruits, leaves, insects, eggs but sometimes apes prey on monkeys and make them their diet.

Physical Traits:

How does monkey look like?

Monkeys and apes have different physical characteristics; difference between monkeys is that all monkeys have tails while apes do not have a tail. Monkeys are small and narrows chested, apes are larger than monkeys except for gibbon. Monkeys are lightly weighted which allows them to run fast and to move through upper branches of trees with ease.

How does Apes look like?

Apes have broad chest and strong shoulder joints while making them able to swing swing from branch and across the trees. Apes have bigger brains in comparison to monkeys; they are more intelligent and innovative to overcome any problem.

Fun Facts for kids:

  • Almost all apes make nests before sleeping; They use twigs, leaves, small branches in nest making.
  • Orangutans are very intelligent apes, they can even understand maths if they are trained.
  • Humans share 98% and 97% of DNA with Gorilla and Orangutans respectively.
  • The pygmy marmoset is the smallest monkey in the world; they are only 5 inches long with a tail length of about 7 inches.
  • Patas monkeys are the fastest primate; they can reach the speed of 55 km/hr.
  • difference between monkeys and apes usually lies in their size of brain.
  • Almost all world monkeys use tools to hunt other animals or eat termites and small insects.
  • All 260 species of monkeys have tails, but no apes have tails.

Ape Vs Monkey face-off: Who would win?

When it comes to the duel between apes and monkeys; apes are bigger and heavier than monkeys. Apes often hunt monkeys of other species, so in the fight between monkeys and apes win is already on the ape’s side. In a one-on-one fight, the monkey cannot beat the ape; hence ape is the winner of this animal duel.

Comparison Chart: Ape vs Monkey

Comparison HeadsApeMonkey
SuborderHaplorhini (dry-nosed)Haplorhini (dry-nosed)
InfraorderSimiformes  (superior primates)Simiformes
ParvorderCatarrhini (hook-nosed)New-world monkeys: Platyrrhini (flat-nosed); Old-world monkeys: Catarrhini
FamiliesHylobatidae ( Lesser Apes gibbons) and Hominidae (GreatApes, including humans)Callitrichidae (like marmosets) and Cebidae (like squirrel monkeys)
Species23 species260 species
HabitatAfrica and Southern Asia.  Lesser and Great Apes live in the tropical rain forest. They spend some time on land.Africa, Asia, and Central and South America. Spend most of their time on trees.
LifespanAbout 60 yearsAround 30 years
Brain sizeLargeSmall
Body StructureLonger, usually upright posture. Long arms, strong joint to swing across trees.Short and Quadrupedal. Uses tail as “fifth limb” to help grasp limbs in trees.
TailNo.They don’t have tailOld World monkeys have short tails whereas New World monkeys are long-tailed.
DietOmnivorous consists of fruits, plants, insects, small mammals (including other monkey species).Omnivorous comprises fruits, plants, insects, small invertebrates.

Comparison Video: Apes Vs Monkeys–bgY

FAQ’S: Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are chimpanzees monkeys or apes?

    Chimpanzees, orangutans, bonobos, gibbons, gorillas, and humans are all apes.

  • What are 5 types of apes?

    1st Great Ape : Gorilla
    2nd Great Ape : Chimpanzee
    3rd Great Ape : Orangutan
    4th Great Ape : Bonobo
    5th is : Human (Home Sapiens)

  • Do apes eat meat?

    Yes, Chimpanzees and bonobos are known to hunt and eat other mammals, including monkeys.

  • How many years do apes live?

    Chimpanzee: 39 years
    Bonobo: 40 years
    Orangutan: 35 – 45 years
    Chimps : 32-39 years

  • Who is Charla Nash, is she still alive?

    In 2009 Charla Nash was mangled during a vicious attack by a friend’s pet chimpanzee,left her without a nose, eyes or lips.she received the nation’s first double hand and face transplant in Boston

  • Can gorillas use tools?

    Gorillas, like other apes, use sticks as tools to forage for food

  • Are Gibbons apes or monkeys?

    Gibbons are apes. to be specific they are classified as small apes. Gibbons are colloquially called as lesser apes.

  • Are Gibbons New World monkeys?Are Gibbons intelligent?

    Yes, Gibbons are New world monkeys that are highly intelligent. They can recognize themselves in the mirror. and even respond to songs

  • How many ape and monkey species are there?

    There are 260 species of monkey and only 6 ape species