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New World Monkeys

Endangered New World Monkeys

The Atlantic rainforest in Brazil has been called one of "the most devastated primate habitats in the world." Sixteen of the 21 primate species and subspecies that live in that ravaged Brazilian ecosystem are found nowhere else, and will disappear along with their habitat. The human population of the region continues to put pressure on the forests, which are cut down for agricultural use, living space, and firewood. The endangered woolly spider monkey has become a symbol of the conservation crisis in Brazil.

Other endangered species include the southern bearded saki (Chiropotes satanas, the yellow-tailed woolly monkey (Lagothrix flavicauda), and the Central American squirrel monkey (Saimiri oerstedii). As more and more of the rain forest is cleared, other New World monkeys will be added to the endangered species list. The only ways to save these endangered primates are to preserve their natural forest habitat, and to control the hunting of the rarer species.



Kerrod, Robin. Mammals: Primates, Insect-Eaters and Baleen Whales. Encyclopedia of the Animal World series. New York: Facts on File, 1988.

Knight, Linsay. The Sierra Club Book of Small Mammals. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books for Children, 1993.

Napier, J.R., and P.H. Napier. The Natural History of the Primates. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1985.

Napier, Prue. Monkeys and Apes: A Grosset All-Color Guide. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1972.

Peterson, Dale. The Deluge and the Ark: A Journey into Primate Worlds. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1989.

Preston-Mafham, Rod, and Ken Preston-Mafham. Primates of the World. New York: Fact of File, 1992.

Jean F. Blashfield


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—Swinging from tree limb to tree limb hand over hand.


—Refers to animals that are mainly active in the daylight hours.


—The period of carrying developing offspring in the uterus after conception; pregnancy.


—Of males and females, mating for life.


—Active in or relating to nighttime.


—Of the thumb or first toe on a primate, set far enough from the remainder of the fingers to be useful in grasping objects.


—Of males and females, taking more than one mate at a time.


—Grasping, as the specialized tail in many monkeys.

Sexual dimorphism

—The occurrence of marked differences in coloration, size, or shape between males and females of the same species.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Mysticism to Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotideNew World Monkeys - Capuchins, The Night Monkey, Titis, Squirrel Monkeys, The Saki Family, Howler Monkeys