Apes vs. Monkeys – The Difference Between

How are apes and monkeys different?

The difference between apes and monkeys has been the subject of many studies and tons or research. This is because of the many similarities that exist between them and also because apes are so similar to humans. Apes are the primates that are most similar to humans and they also show signs of having some intelligence. It is this intelligence factor that separates them from other primates, such as monkey.

It is believed that apes and monkeys evolved from the same primates, but they branched off in different directions during the process of evolution. This branching off is what gave them the different physical and behavioral characteristics that they exhibit today. They both belong to the scientific family of primates, which is subdivided into two groups – prosimians and anthropoids. Prosimians include such species as lemurs and tarsiers, which are very primitive. Monkeys, apes and humans belong to the anthropoid sub-group. There are more than 200 different species of monkeys in the world.

Apes are further subdivided, but the division is based on their size. The greater apes include gorillas, chimpanzees and orangutans. Gibbons and siamangs are lesser apes because they are much smaller in size.

Monkeys are different from apes in that they have very flexible limbs and their eyes face forward. The most noticeable difference, though, is in the presence of a tail. Monkeys have tails, but apes do not, and the tails of monkeys can be of differing lengths. Monkeys live in trees but apes walk around on the ground. Because they spend so much of their lives in trees, monkeys can use their tail as a fifth limb to help them travel through the branches. They also have webbed feet which makes it easier for them to climb and unlike apes, they do not have a thumb. Apes are much larger than monkeys and their arms are longer, whereas their legs are shorter. Apes have broad chests and the monkey has a long chest.

It is in the area of intelligence that there is a difference between apes and monkeys. Apes are more intelligent, while monkeys are closer to the lesser apes in the area of brain capability. Apes behave much in the same way as humans do and some do have rudimentary capabilities with language. They do not have the ability to make use of tools and to be able to solve problems, which is the main difference between apes and humans. The DNA of the ape is very similar to that of humans, but there are very similarities between the DNA of monkeys and humans.

Monkeys are more spread out over the world and it is even possible to see them in cities of the regions in which they live. Apes stick to forests and jungles and run away when humans are present. Studies have shown that apes do have a social hierarchy and that they live in communities, like humans. They also engage in behaviors very similar to those of humans.


  1. Monkeys and apes belong to the family of primates but there are more differences than similarities between them.
  2. They did have a common ancestor but they evolved in different ways.
  3. Apes do not have a tail and live on the ground. Monkeys have a tail that they use as another limb to help them climb and travel among the branches of trees.
  4. Apes have thumbs, but monkeys do not.
  5. Monkeys have webbed feet.
  6. Apes are more intelligent than monkeys and have a social hierarchy quite similar to that of humans.