All About Apes: Interesting Facts About the Many Different Types of Primates

All About Apes: Interesting Facts About the Many Different Types of Primates

Primates are a fascinating category of a creature and one that has long baffled us as humans for their similarities to us. The resemblance is undeniable - ten fingers, ten toes, human-like body shapes, and even behaviors similar to ours. Of course, this is a widely varied species - some primates are so tiny they can fit in your hands. The following is a list of different kinds of primates from all over the world.



These primates are found throughout the African wild and Arabia, and are a type of “Old World Monkey.” This refers to primates originating in this region who have opposable thumbs and survive on plant-based diets and are larger in size. There are five different types of baboons; the Chacma, Olive, Guinea, Hamadryas, and Yellow. They are extremely adaptable and powerful animals who tend to travel in large, tight-knit groups called “troops” that can be as large as hundreds of members. They travel in smaller groups during the day, always lead by a dominant, fierce male. They communicate with vocal cues and facial expressions, as well as gestures with their tails.



Spider Monkeys

Ranging between 14 and 26 lbs on average, these small, agile monkeys are named for their climbing abilities. Unlike the majority of other primates, female Spider Monkeys are known to leave their troops and join others, whereas the males stay together for life. They have particularly strong hands and feet which enable them to climb trees with extreme proficiency.

Spider Monkey



Perhaps the most recognizable and familiar image of primates, Chimpanzees are amongst the most similar primates to humans - in fact, we share 98% of our DNA. Accordingly, Chimpanzees communicate in highly efficient ways: they employ the use of 30 distinct calls to exchange information with one another and use complex hand signals with their dexterous fingers. They are known as the world’s most intelligent animal and have been proven to have extensive memory functions and be able to recognize themselves in mirrors. They are extremely social and spend a lot of time grooming one another, which is thought to be a bonding action between members of a group. They are the only animal known to make and use tools, such as “hammers” made of stone for cracking things open.




The largest, strongest primates on earth, Gorillas live in the forests of Africa. Like Chimps, Gorillas share 98% of their DNA with humans and have very similar behavioral patterns, including an emphasis on grooming other members of the troop. A Gorilla named Koko was actually trained in Human Sign Language to the point of being able to effectively communicate with people. Contrary to popular belief, Gorillas are shy and peaceful creatures.



Howler Monkeys

Named for their loud, distinct communicative calls, Howler Monkeys are native to the dense jungles of South America. They are quite small, weighing less than 20 lbs on average, and survive off of fruits, nuts, and seeds. They travel in troops, like most other primates, and spend about 80% of their time sleeping or resting. 

Howler Monkey