Weirdest primates in the world

Posted on Apr 23, 2013 in Looks

As humans we certainly have an affinity for other primates, perhaps because their appearance and behaviour is similar to ours in so many ways. It’s amazing to think that we originated from a common ancestor millions of years ago but unsurprising when you consider how alike some of these characters are to ourselves. From a svelte monkey to one with a huge moustache, these individuals have strange features not far from our own.



Probiscus monkey

photo: kevincure





















Most Gorgeous Honker – Probiscus Monkey

Despite having a fleshy honker so enormous it has to push it to one side when eating, the male probiscus monkey is not complaining – the bigger the honker, the more irresistible he is to the opposite sex! As well as reflecting a monkey’s status, its enormous nose also serves another important purpose: amplifying sound. When threatened, blood rushes to its nose making it even bigger.  The swelling then acts as a resonating chamber which amplifies the monkey’s alarm call – so alerting his buddies to the impending danger.

Lives: Borneo, South East Asia
Status: Endangered


Primate’s Next Top Model – Slender Loris

It’s all in the name for this skinny primate which cuts a slim figure with its stick-thin arms and legs, stretching almost as long as its entire body at around 25cm. Grasping on to twigs with its tiny digits, it’s able to slink around the rainforest with ease but tends to move slowly through the vegetation unless threatened. Aside from its supermodel frame, the slender loris is flexible in other ways, as it can adapt to both wet and dry environments and low and highland forests.

Lives: Southern India, Sri Lanka
Status: Endangered


Bug-Eyed Chatterbox – Philippine Tarsier

This pocket-sized primate has proportionately the largest eyes of any living mammal. Such awesome goggles come into their own at night when this acrobatic nocturnal hunter uses them to pinpoint tasty bugs and insects; greedily devouring them head first. And despite appearing to be silent to us, it’s now been discovered that this cute creature is actually a high pitched chatterbox.

Lives: Philippines
Status: Vulnerable



Emperor Tamarin

photo: coda

Most Distinguished Moustache – Emperor Tamarin

 These miniature monkeys are supposedly so-named after their resemblance to German Emperor Wilhelm II from the 19th Century who had an equally impressive facial adornment. This distinctive feature certainly stands out against the tamarin’s dark grey silky fur and extends to the shoulders when laid back. The long white moustache may seem particularly masculine but it isn’t reserved only for the males of species as both sexes wear it with pride!

Lives: Brazil, Peru, Bolivia
Status: Least Concern


Best Looking Red Face – Bald Uakari

When it comes to movie star looks, the more flaming red the face the better. Or at least that’s how these strange small South American primates see it anyway. It could be that females find red faces in males so smoking hot because it’s a sign of good health and breeding prowess as males that are sick tend to develop paler faces.

Lives: Brazil, Peru
Status: Vulnerable



Most Magnificent Mask – Mandrill

Although these are the world’s largest monkeys, this isn’t the stand-out feature you’ll first notice on a mandrill. Closely related to the baboon, which we often recognise for its bold behind, this monkey has a distinctively vibrant face not dissimilar to a voodoo mask. Its facial markings stand out from the crowd with a unique red stripe down the middle bordered by bright blue ridges. Its clown-like appearance continues further down the face with its ruby red nostrils, lips and yellow beard. These features are more pronounced in the male monkeys and such hues become even brighter when faced with confrontation as a warning to the opponent!

Lives: Africa
Status: Vulnerable


Snub nosed monkey

photo: suneko

Most Skull-like Appearance – Snub-nosed monkey

Only recently discovered, the snub-nosed monkey has an unusually striking face similar to that of a much friendlier Voldemort. Unlike the villain, researchers are desperate to come face to face with this character as it has been so rarely spotted that not much is known about this peculiar monkey. Its turned-up nose appears as two nostrils flat on the face which it has been suggested are especially evolved to combat the extreme cold temperatures it is found in. Despite this, rainfall during the monsoon season can become a problem causing the snub-nosed monkey to sneeze.

Lives: Asia
Status: Endangered



Pygmy marmoset

photo: suneko

World’s Tiniest Monkey – Pygmy Marmoset

Not quite claiming the title of world’s smallest primate but just about clinging on to this prestigious award, the pygmy marmoset is the littlest monkey around. Barely big enough to spot in the wild, this monkey is only about 5 inches (13cm) tall on average but has a tail bigger than its own body. Weighing in at only 4 ounces, you can imagine why these miniscule mouse-like creatures are often called ‘finger monkeys’ as they could easily wrap themselves around your finger.

Lives: Brazil, Ecuador, Peru
Status: Least Concern


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