20 Incredible Primate Expressions


Stock market lossesPhoto:
Image: Subramanian Kabilan

The reason why humans love monkeys so much is because it is so easy to identify with them. We imagine to know what they think and feel and love to put words into their mouths. Because they are expressive animals, it is just fun to watch monkeys and some photographers really manage to capture their whole gamut of emotions. But enough of monkeying around – here’s a selection of the 20 best shots.

The chimpanzee’s expression caught in a zoo in Switzerland can only be described with the German term “schadenfreude” – the pleasure derived out of somebody else’s misfortune. Or, maybe like the Tom Sawyer of the monkey world, he got someone else to do his work so that he has time to chill? We’ll never know for sure but the capture is priceless!

I told you I‘d be chillin’ first…
Image: Tambako the Jaguar

And now two really happy monkeys:

A monkey walks into a bar and then – tee hee – hee – ha ha:
LOL monkeyPhoto:
Image via brynmawr

He’ll squeeze through the chimney and give me presents? Really?
Happy monkey babyPhoto:
Image: Chris Lott

The terms Old World monkey and New World monkey are generally used to distinguish between monkeys from Africa and Asia and those from the Americas but there are physical differences as well: New World monkeys have rounded nostrils that face to the side and their dental formula is slightly different. Old World monkeys have narrow, downward-facing nostrils and flattened nails on their fingers and toes, pads on their buttocks and are larger, partly terrestrial animals.

The pensive lot below might be pondering these differences.

This chimpanzee is aping Rodin’s sculpture “The Thinker”…
The ThinkerPhoto:
Image via motherjones

… whereas this one is trying to be the perfect monkey gargoyle:
monkey gargoylePhoto:
Image: 2Tales

This monkey’s motto at San Diego Zoo seems to be “watch and learn”:
Image: Bryan Gosline

Not really pensive but definitely thinking hard. This Macaque at Monkey Forest Park nature reserve in Ubud, Bali seems to have only the delicious prasad – flowers and sweet offerings to the gods – on its mind. Who could resist?

If I take just one, nobody will notice…
Image: flydime

Speaking of differences: Ever wondered what the difference is between a monkey and an ape? The easiest distinguishing mark is that apes have no tail, a generally more upright body posture, a broader chest and a larger body weight. Like humans, apes rely more on vision than smell and have a larger brain relative to their size.

Oh boy, another day with absolute no action, yaaaaawn:
yawning macaquePhoto:
Image: Steve Evans

Snapped at Chester Zoo, UK: What do you mean, roll your own?
At Chester ZooPhoto:
Image: Matt Cox

When it comes to the differences between primates and humans, they’re really not that great – gorillas, chimpanzees and humans all belong to the same family of Hominidaes. Genetically, humans, common chimps and bonobos share 98.4% of their DNA. That’s a difference of only 1.6%. Gorillas, though the closest relatives of humans in the animal world, differ in DNA by about 2.3% and orangutans by 3.6%. Ape-solutely shocking we think!

No way, did you just call me an ape?
Image: Alan Taylor

Duh! Even I can’t believe it:
Image via encefalus

The next group of three isn’t the most cheerful lot – they seem pretty much resigned to their fate, captivity:

Chicks and fame they promised me – and now look at me, one lonely chap!
Image: epSos.de

Grumpy squirrel monkey: I told you I’m not in the mood, just leave me alone…
Squirrel monkeyPhoto:
Image: Eddy Van 3000

Resigned to its shackled fate, a macaque hits the bottle in Jullunder, India:
Image: Salim Virji

From resignation to anger, it’s just a small step. We sure don’t want to cross the next three fellows:

Startled in the Philippines, Mr. T said “Don’t make me angry!” :
Mr. T?Photo:
Image: Dannny Otanes

I said don’t mess with me!
At Gibraltar ZooPhoto:
Image: Keith Roper

Hey, you b***** thief! It’s my banana, heeeey!
Image: Michael Eccles

This pygmy marmoset seems the expression „polite yet firm“ personified. Notice its firmness, tight lips and hands balled into fists.

Thank you for voicing your opinion but I’d like to reiterate my point now:
Pygmy marmosetPhoto:
Image: Su Neko

Words escape us for this Spider monkey, caught on camera in Nicaragua:
spider monkeyPhoto:
Image: Adam Baker

Sources: 1, 2

We’ll even throw in a free album.