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28 Unbelievable Facts About Monkeys

closeup photo of black gorilla

The world of primates is fraught with many mysteries that humans are trying to solve. They are mammals that arouse genuine interest among naturalists because they are considered the closest relatives of humans. It is worth noting that scientists discover up to 10 new species of primates every year, so we still have a lot to learn about these amazing animals.

We have collected for you a selection of facts, discoveries, and opinions from scientists who slightly opened the secret curtain that protects humans from the animal world.

two baby monkeys on gray tree branch


  • Pregnancy in monkeys lasts 8-9 months.
  • Modern monkeys have 32 teeth, just like humans.
  • Monkeys will never be able to evolve into humans due to the destroyed ecological habitat of these animals.
  • Monkeys and humans are the only animals that do not tolerate ultraviolet radiation well.
  • Every year, scientists conduct research, the essence of which is to learn about the similarity of chimpanzees and humans. Recent results show that the absolute similarity between the DNA of the test subjects is less than 90%, although according to early studies similarity was 95%.
two brown and white monkeys on top of tree branch during daytime
  • Bananas are actually bad for monkeys. Modern fruit has so much sugar, that they can get diabetes.
  • The tallest apes are gorillas. The average height of males is 170 cm.
  • The smallest primates are pygmy marmosets. Their height is only 12 cm.
  • Modern man will never be able to communicate with a monkey in a verbal way. Certainly not in the next few million years. And all due to the fact that there is no speech center in the brain of primates, and therefore all human attempts to teach them to speak are in vain.
  • Male chimpanzees are prone to baldness.
  • Some primate species, like dolphins, engage in sexual intercourse for pleasure, not creating offspring.


  • The closest relatives or best friends of deceased females take care of the orphaned cubs.
  • Chimpanzees are capable of recognizing themselves in a mirror. That’s very rare in the animal world.
monkey looking at mirror
  • Chimpanzees and gorillas are the smartest animals in the world.
  • Mothers of almost all primates teach their children to brush their teeth from an early age. A habit, that stays with monkeys forever.
  • Most primates use available tools to make life easier. For example, chimpanzees use plain paper or large leaves rolled into thin tubes to clean their ears and nails. They also create tools for everyday life — it can be a device for crushing nuts or a self-sharpened spear for hunting.
  • Some Chimp infants have been observed caring for rocks like human children care for dolls. It shows, that, just like humans, chimpanzees can use imagination.
  • Most primates communicate with each other using gestures and sounds, and they also know how to joke. As an example, the famous chimpanzee Coco became one of the few primates who knew to communicate with humans. Scientists witnessed how Coco called herself a bird with the help of gestures and answered their objections with gestures that they did not understand her jokes. How reliable this information is unknown.
  • Chimpanzees understand vengeance. Two zookeepers played contrasting roles: one regularly fed the chimpanzees and the other took their food away. At the end, when a third person pretended to beat each zookeeper, many chimpanzees watched the “disliked” zookeeper’s punishment.
brown monkey climbing on tree
  • Monkeys are can have a bad habit — they sometimes enjoy drinking alcohol or smoking.
  • Scientists noticed a chimpanzee wearing a piece of grass into her ear, with no apparent function. After other members of her group started imitating her, researchers realized to be in the presence of the first fashion statement observed in other animals.
  • Monkeys are living in their Stone Age and have been for four thousand years.


brown monkey
  • 59 years — this is how long the female chimpanzee Gamma lived. Today she is the record holder for life expectancy among the great apes.
  • In 1964, a Swedish art gallery displayed 4 paintings by unknown artist Pierre Brassau. Every single art critic praised the ‘avant-garde’ work — except one, who said, ‘only an ape could have done this’. In fact, it was all a hoax by a journalist and ‘Brassau’ was actually a 4-year-old chimpanzee.
  • Gorilla Coco understands the meaning of 2,000 words of the English language. And her IQ level is 95. 
  • For all the time after the conquest of outer space by man, 32 monkeys were sent there.
  • Human beings aren’t the only animals that go to war with each other. There was a four-years long Gombe Chimpanzee War between two money troops.
two brown monkeys
  • British academics conducted an experiment with 6 monkeys & typewriters inspired by the famed “an infinite number of monkeys will eventually type out Shakespeare’s plays” theory. In the end, monkeys wrote 5 pages in 4 weeks, which consisted of mostly letter ‘S’, then “got bored and shit on the keyboard”.
  • In the elections for mayor of Rio de Janeiro in 1988, the population was so unhappy with politicians, that a well-known monkey of the local zoo received over 400k votes.