Monkeys make up two of the three groups of simian primates (the third
being apes). Old World (Platyrrhini) monkeys are more closely related to
apes than New World monkeys (Cercopithecoidea).
There are 364 species of monkey. The smallest monkey is about five
inches tall; the tallest averages forty inches.
General gestation period lasts four and a half months to seven and a
half months, yielding one to two young. Depending on the species,
monkeys can live as long as 45 years in captivity.
Monkeys inhabit a diverse stretch of the world; they call mountains,
grasslands, and forests of Africa, Europe, Asia, and North and South
America home. The New World Monkeys are those found in North and South
America. The Old World Monkeys are found in Africa, Asia, and Europe.
Both groups act and look much the same.
Most monkeys live in trees. Their slim, light bodies are well suited to
climbing, swinging, and leaping. The star acrobat among the monkeys is
the spider monkey of Central and South America. It eats, sleeps, and
raises its young one hundred feet above the ground, only descending to
lower branches to feed.
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