Pedantics #4

This is a monkey:

English: Saimiri sciureus. Français : Saimiri ...
Saimiri sciureus. (Photo credit: Luc Viatour)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is an ape:

Chimpanzee
Chimpanzee (Photo credit: Dhammika Heenpella / Images of Sri Lanka)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apes are not monkeys. Monkeys are not apes. They are both primates, in the same way that ducks and geese are both birds. People don’t consistently refer to geese as ducks. But you constantly hear chimpanzees called ‘monkeys’. The same goes for gorillas, orangutans, and gibbons. None of them are monkeys, any more than any of the humans reading this are monkeys.

Even during my search for these images, I came across photos of chimpanzees and orangutans when I typed in ‘monkey’. Is it just willful ignorance or a blatant misuse of language? Is it a total misunderstanding of the animal kingdom? A deliberate slap in the face to Linnaeus?

I have no idea. I’m not sure it even matters. Just please, next time you see a baby gorilla or a chimpanzee or a beautiful orangutan, remember they’re APES. Humans are supposed to be the most intelligent species on the planet, but even a chimpanzee knows it’s not a monkey.

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