Primates – Monkeys

All our cousins and we humans! Sadly, half are threatened with extinction

You must’ve heard the popular notion that our ancestors were monkeys. Not quite, but monkeys and humans had a common ancestor. Just like chimpanzees, apes or lemurs probably evolved parallel to humans or other monkeys, sharing common ancestors—in other words, we’re all primates with long-lost relatives.

As you must’ve guessed, Primates are the smartest animals with the largest cerebral capacity and are socially advanced (the word ‘primate’ literally means “first rank”). Given that we so closely identify ourselves with these hairy relatives, one would think that most of their species must’ve been discovered already. To our surprise, more than a dozen new primate species are discovered in dense mystical rainforests each year!

Primates are organized into two suborders: the more primitive Strepsirrhines – “wet-nosed” and intelligent superior Haplorhines – “dry-nosed.” The latter rely more on sight and sound than smell. The wet nose, rhinarium, acts like Boy Scout’s wet finger, helping the primate sense the direction of the scent — predator, prey, or another species member.