Monkey vs Chimpanzee (Uncovering Similarities And Differences)

The similarity in look between monkeys and chimpanzees confounds many people. The untrained eye can make monkeys and chimpanzees look alike to the point where certain literary works portray them incorrectly. Despite how similar they may seem at first glance, if you examine attentively you will see that they differ greatly.

Chimpanzee and monkeys are both primates, but chimps belong to the ape family, which is very different from the monkey family. In addition, with only a 5% DNA difference, chimpanzees are the closest living relative to us. But what additional distinctions exist between monkeys and chimpanzees outside their classification? In the parts that follow, let’s examine the traits that set the two species apart.


What is the Difference Between Apes and Monkeys

Comparing Monkey and Chimpanzee

Monkey Chimpanzee
Family – Belong to the Monkey family, which can be divided into Old World Monkeys and New World Monkeys – Belong to the Ape Family, and further classified into Great Ape species
Appearance – Existence of tails: shorter tails for Old World Monkeys and longer for New World Monkeys

– Usually smaller and narrow-chested

– Do not have tails

– Bigger and have broad chests and shoulder joints

Diet – omnivores – frugivore but also tends to be more carnivorous
Intelligence – they have smaller brains so they are less intelligent – they have bigger brains so they tend to be smarter than monkeys
Communication – use sound and body language – more advanced cognitive and language skills

The 5 Key Differences Between Monkeys and Chimpanzees

The primary distinctions between a monkey and a chimpanzee are their family structure, physical characteristics, nutrition, level of intelligence, and communication methods. Despite the differences between them, both of these animals are classified as primates. Primates are mammals with advanced hand-and-foot gripping, forward-facing eyes, and cognitive development and capacities.

Monkey vs Chimpanzee: Family

According to universal consensus, the terms “monkey” and “old world monkey” refer to two distinct subspecies of primates. These two groups’ opposable thumbs, sitting pads, shape of the nose and septum, and prehensile tails are only a few notable differences. Baboons, macaques, marmosets, tamarins, and capuchins are among the various species of monkeys.

Chimps are not monkeys at all, although being related to them. Instead, they are categorized as being part of the Great Apes, which is a distinct family of primates. They come from the Hominidae family of animals. Gorillas, orangutans, bonobos, and humans are examples of other hominids.

Monkey vs Chimpanzee: Appearance

tail is an easy way to distinguish between monkeys and apes; as chimps lack tail, neither do apes nor apes have one. However, compared to New World Monkeys, Old World Monkeys have shorter tails.

Apes can swing through bushes because of their larger size, broad chests, and shoulder joints compared to monkeys, which are typically smaller and have narrower chests. While some monkeys can accomplish this, contrary to popular belief, their arm structures prevent them from swinging from one tree to another. Instead, they cross the branches while running. They tend to rush up and down branches and up to the tops of trees more frequently.

Chimpanzees have dark hair all over their bodies, save for their face, hands, and feet. Like humans, chimpanzees have opposable thumbs. These might be used by them to climb, consume, and craft tools out of leaves and branches.

Monkey vs Chimpanzee: Diet

Omnivorous monkeys predominate. They consume some meat, such as lizards and bird eggs, as well as plant-based foods including fruits, nuts, and eggs. Monkey diets are subject to seasonal variations. They do consume bananas, but they differ from the varieties we often find in supermarkets. Wild bananas contain a small amount of fruit they can eat and many hard seeds.

As frugivores, chimpanzees consume fruit, seeds, leaves, flowers, honey, and insects. However, they pursue and consume smaller primates, goats, and antelopes. To remove termites and ants from mounds so they can be eaten, chimpanzees fashion tools out of sticks. Chimps would prefer to eat meat more frequently in general.

Monkey vs Chimpanzee: Intelligence

Without a doubt, intelligence is the most fundamental and distinctive characteristic between monkeys and apes. The brains of monkeys are more primitive than apes. Although intelligent, monkeys are not quite as intelligent as apes.

Apes are typically more intelligent than monkeys, despite the fact that this might not be obvious at first glance. They can think more clearly and solve problems because they have a larger brain-to-body ratio than monkeys. The ape that is genetically closest to humans, the chimpanzee, can even manufacture and use basic tools to help with food access and collection.

Monkey vs Chimpanzee: Communication

Monkeys can communicate with one another, but it is less sophisticated than that of apes. To communicate, monkeys make vocalizations, facial expressions, and physical gestures. They train one another to show affection and resolve disputes.

Social behavior is exhibited by chimpanzees. They communicate similarly like humans do through vocalizations, hand gestures, and facial expressions. They inhabit loosely knit villages that range in size from 12 to 100 persons. There are smaller family groups in these communities. They take care of each other, keep predators out of their home region, and gather food as needed. Chimpanzees with good communication abilities can create complex social groups and even show signs of tradition. They have the same capacity for dispute resolution as people have.

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