Is a Baboon a Monkey Or An Ape?
Baboons are a genus of monkeys and belong to the vervet family. They measure between 40 and 110 centimeters from head to tail. Basically, males are much larger and heavier than females.
Their large, forward-facing snout and huge canine teeth are striking. Males have particularly powerful canine teeth and, depending on the species, a mane on the neck and around the shoulders.
The tail is slightly shorter than the body; in the largest specimens, it is up to 80 centimeters long.
It is precisely the tail that distinguishes baboons as belonging to the monkey species since one of the main differences to distinguish between monkeys and apes is the characteristic of having a tail.
The fur of the baboons is dense and rough and colored differently depending on the species. The males of the mantled baboons are silver-colored, those of the steppe baboons are yellowish-blonde, the anus-bis-baboon is olive-colored, the bear baboon is brownish. The females are usually colored a little differently than the males.
The snout is hairless in all baboons. The bottom is also hairless and usually noticeably colored. At the time of reproduction, it swells in the females and its color becomes even brighter.
How many species of baboons are there?
There are five different types of baboons that are closely related to one another: The mantled baboon lives in northeast Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. The fur of the males is silver-white, the females are brownish.
The Anubis baboon has olive-green fur and is the most widespread. It occurs from Mali and Ethiopia to Tanzania. The steppe baboon is yellowish in color and lives in eastern and southern Africa. The smallest species is the Guinea baboon. It can only be found in western Africa from Mali and Mauritania to Guinea and Senegal.
The largest species is the bear baboon that lives in southern Africa. It has dark brown to gray-brown fur, the males measure up to 110 centimeters and weigh up to 31 kilograms.
The baboon lives from Angola via Zambia to Namibia and South Africa.
Especially in South Africa, bear baboons have become a real nuisance in some places as they devastate plantations and even penetrate houses and look for food there.
What are the main differences between a baboon and an ape?
Unlike apes, baboon monkeys have a tail, but the baboon’s tail is not prehensile, and this is one of the characteristics of the catarrhine monkeys, a species to which they belong.
Another notable difference between baboons and apes is their size, although, for a monkey, baboons are of considerable size, ranging from medium to large, an adult baboon could measure between 40 and 110 centimeters (Papio ursinus), which is quite considerable for a monkey.
It is very likely that this size characteristic of baboons is the aspect that leads them to be often related and confused with apes.
An adult male baboon can reach an average size similar to an ape.
But there are other physical characteristics that distinguish them, for example, the body structure, apes have a much wider chest than monkeys.
Monkeys, such as baboons, have a more elongated and narrower physical structure than apes, so they have less muscle mass and much less strength.
Apes also have more highly emphasized intelligence traits than a baboon monkey; apes can learn to use tools in a basic way, whereas this is a trait that is not recognized in baboon monkeys.
Is a baboon an old-world monkey?
Both the Papio (baboon) and the mandrill, the two largest species of monkeys in the old world, are the largest monkeys except for the apes.
Old World monkeys differ from apes by the presence of a tail, and they also differ from New World monkeys in that their tails are not prehensile.
How do baboons live?
Baboons spend a lot of time on the ground looking for food. The animals walk well and can cover up to 20 kilometers in a day. But baboons can also climb well. At night they retreat to trees or rocks to sleep.
Typical is the strange posture of the tail: the first third protrudes vertically upwards, the other two-thirds hang down.
Baboons are diurnal. They are very sociable, curious, and playful and live in groups. These groups can consist of only five animals but also consist of 40 to 80 or in extreme cases up to 250 animals.
Either several males and females form a mixed group or one male life with several females. Such groups can be found especially with robed baboons, they are called harem groups. The male jealously watches over his females and hardly takes their eyes off them.
Baboons communicate with each other in a variety of ways: via sounds, posture, facial expression, or body contact. For example, they show the other their buttocks and thereby express that they are subordinate to the other animal.
If females present their rear part, which is bright red and thickly swollen at the time of reproduction, to the male, they signal that they are ready to mate.
If baboons threaten or want to scare off predators such as predators, they show their mighty canine teeth. They also stare at their conspecifics or yawn to threaten them.
Animals that are at the bottom of the hierarchy groom the fur of the higher-ranking animals, thus showing that they are subordinate to themselves. Males, in turn, groom the fur of the females when they want to mate with them.