Difference between Apes and Monkeys

Apes vs. Monkeys

What is difference between Apes and Monkeys? Monkeys and apes are animals that are used for studies and research very often. Although there are many similarities between both animals, the differences are many. As similarities we have that the apes and monkeys belong both to the Primates family and some are similar. They have some behaviors in common in terms of habitat and food. But these animals differ in many ways. Below this post is all about the difference between Apes and Monkeys.

Difference between Apes and Monkeys

Monkeys are smaller primates while apes are larger. More specifically, a monkey is a cercopithecoid or platirrino primate while the apes belong to the primates Hominoidea family. Scientifically speaking, the Old World monkeys have more kinship with the apes than the monkeys of the New World. Many believe that because of its size the mandrill monkey is an ape, but in reality it is an Old World monkey. The family of monkeys is made up of old and new monkeys, while the family of the apes is made up of chimpanzees, orangutans, gorillas and humans. It is said that humans evolved from apes.

Of the two animals, an ape is smarter than a monkey. This is indicated by their behavior and activities. They are able to learn signs, languages, the use of tools, and even exhibit skills to solve problems. The apes have brains and bodies larger than those of the monkeys. The body of an ape has a broad back and arms longer than the legs, while the monkeys have long, slender breasts and have arms that are the same length as the legs or shorter.

Another characteristic by which we can distinguish them is the tail. The monkeys have tails while the apes do not. But there are exceptions in some species of monkeys such as baboons and drills that do not have tail. The monkeys are more accustomed to living in the trees and their tail serves as a fifth limb for this purpose. And the apes live more comfortably on the ground, although they can climb and swing between the trees like monkeys.

The monkeys are scattered all over the world but the apes, no. You can find monkeys even in the place where you live. They can live in harmony with humans. But the apes are not so widely spread and there are many species of apes in danger of extinction within the family.

Some other physical characteristics to distinguish a monkey from an ape are the nose and legs. The nasal openings of the monkeys are slanted while those of the apes are rounded. The legs of the monkeys are webbed while the apes do not have webbed feet. Another notable feature in apes is opposable thumbs like those of humans. Monkeys do not have this kind of thumbs.


  1. The apes are closer to humans than monkeys. Physically, features such as sloping nose, webbed feet, body size and tails make monkeys different from apes.
  2. If the apes are intelligent and able to exhibit intelligence, monkeys show no intelligence in behavior and are often considered an annoyance to normal human life as they destroy crops and plantations and annoy people.
  3. The nasal openings of the monkeys are slanted and that of the apes are rounded.
  4. The legs of the monkeys are webbed while the apes do not have webbed feet.
  5. Another remarkable feature of the apes is that they have opposable thumbs like humans. Monkeys do not have this kind of thumbs.
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