Difference Between Old World Monkeys and New World Monkeys


Main Difference

Monkeys are dry nosed primates called haplorhine. Monkeys belongs to paraphyletic group generally they have tails and consist of more than 260 known living species. Some of the species are tree-dwelling while some others live on ground like baboons. Monkeys are considered to be intelligent especially old world monkeys. Old world monkeys and new world monkeys are families of primates. Both old and new world monkeys differ in many aspects like old world monkeys are found in Africa and Asia while new world monkeys are found in South and Central America.

Old World Monkeys

Old world monkeys are found in Asia and Africa. They lives in range of environment from savannah to tropical rain forest, mountainous terrain and shrubland. Old world monkeys are very closer to man because they have better developed brain, small ear pinnae, rods and cones in retina, sensitive finger tips, menstruation, continuous spermatogenesis and well developed facial muscles for expressing emotions by facial gesture. Most of the old world monkeys are at least partially omnivores but they prefer plant matter most which forms bulk of their diet. These monkeys have cheek pouches, raised nose with narrow intranasal septum and nostrils which faces downwards (catarrhine). This kind of nasal feature is also shared by humans and apes. Old world monkeys have tails but their tails lack prehensile feature. Old world monkeys have sitting pads near the tail, these thickly calloused region supports the primates to sit on trees to sleep, feed and rest. Old world monkeys have well developed finger and toe nails and their thumbs are more opposable and resembles to human thumb. Old world monkeys are rarely involved in taking care of their young ones.


New World Monkeys

New world monkeys are found in South and Central America and are confined to their arboreal habitat. New world monkeys are small to medium size primates. New world monkeys consist exclusively of arboreal (tree-dwelling) species like spider monkeys, capuchins, marmosets and tamarins. These monkeys have flat nose with broad nasal septum (platyrrhine) and they also lack cheek pouches. Their nostrils faces forward. New world monkeys have tails with prehensile feature it means that they can use their tails to grasp or hold on to different objects. Also their tails helps them in eating food as well as moving amongst the trees because their tails provide balance and support. New world monkeys have claws on their digits except the big toes of tamarins and marmosets. Thumb orientation of these monkeys lies in the line with other digits, opposes the next digit in a scissor like grip. New world monkeys lack thick calloused sitting pads (ischial callosities). New world monkeys are involved in taking care of their infants.


Key Differences

  1. Old world monkeys are found in Asia and Africa while new world monkeys are found in South and Central America.
  2. Old world monkeys lives in a range of environment like savannah , tropical rain forests while new world monkeys lives in theirs arboreal (tree-dwelling) habitat.
  3. Old world monkeys have raised nose with narrow intranasal septum and nostrils faces downward while new world monkeys have flat nose with broad intranasal septum and their nostril faces forward.
  4. Old world monkeys have cheek pouches while new world monkeys lack cheek pouches.
  5. Old world monkeys rarely take part in infant care while new world monkeys are involved in taking care of their infants.

Comparison Video

YouTube video
Janet White

Janet White is a writer and blogger for Difference Wiki since 2015. She has a master's degree in science and medical journalism from Boston University. Apart from work, she enjoys exercising, reading, and spending time with her friends and family. Connect with her on Twitter @Janet__White

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