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Apes Versus Monkeys


R. S. Martin
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This research came about as a result of a conversation with a Christian who thought evolution claimed that humans are descended from monkeys. Frankly, I didn't know better myself. I shared the conversation with another atheist who informed me that humans are descended from apes--not monkeys--and that these two are very different primates.

 

I have also seen research that says humans and apes have a common ancestor, which I take to indicate that we are not descended from apes but related to them. I looked up "apes vs monkeys" to find out what the difference is between the two.

 

Here is some of the information I found:

 

  • Apes vs Monkeys: chart and bullets listing characteristics of both
  • Primate: Wikipedia Article describing primates of various types, including simian primates to which monkeys, apes, and humans belong.

According to the Apes vs Monkeys site, apes--like humans--grow up to two metres tall, while monkeys grow up to one metre tall. Apes sometimes walk on two feet while monkeys are four-footed beasts. Also, apes rely on vision while monkeys rely on smell. Apes have no tails while monkeys have tails. The differences continue. The physical structural similarities between humans and apes are strikingly greater than between humans and monkeys. This extends to brain size and lifespan.

 

According to the Primate article, another kind of primate is the 200-pound mountain gorilla. Other information tells me that at one time the terms "ape" and "monkey" were used interchangeably. In this article, humans are discussed along with the animals as a subject of observation. This article talks about an ancestor of all the primates.

 

Also of interest to this topic is the online video Becoming Human.

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To say that humans are not related to monkeys is actually wrong too.

 

We are related to apes, monkeys, rats, sharks, flies, fungus, and even virus. But when Christians say "evolution says humans descended from monkeys" they mean closest ancestor. And the answer is not that we descended from apes either.

 

We share ancestry with apes and monkeys, but our closest relatives are the apes. Put it this way, between you, your aunt, and your granddad's uncle's son, your not a direct descendant to your aunt or your grandad's uncle's son, but they're relatives, connected through a tree of blood relations. However, your aunt is a bit closer relative in the family tree.

 

You can see the primate ancestry tree here (Wiki): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primate#Historical_and_modern_terminology

 

When it comes to biological and physical differences, yes, apes and humans share traits, and we share traits with the monkeys too, but fewer than with the apes. I have to break out my anthropology books if you want details. But there are markers and traits that can be seen on the skull alone. Dentition, post-orbital constriction, close/open post-orbital bar, zygomatic arch, bony ear canal, etc... Just looking at the skulls made me realize how related we are and that evolution is true.

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We are not descended from apes. We share a common ancestor. We are an ape, primates, we share the same tree. We are descended of humanoids, not apes themselves. Don't forget there used to be a diverse bunch of humanoids on this planet at one time that homo sapiens also mated with, such as Neanderthals. Homo Sapiens just happen to be the remaining species of humanoids, not the only ones ever in existence. Where our common ancestor branched off to apes and monkeys, our branched off to make humanoids.

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We are descended from monkeys, just not modern monkeys. It's like modern monkeys and ourselves, share a common ancestor who was a monkey, but that species descendants broke off and continued to be some form of monkey, whereas we became apes and then hominids (still technically apes). Same with modern apes and humans

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Thanks for all the additional information and for the clarifications. The Christian's argument against evolution is that there are so many gaps that require faith. His example was: How does one get from monkey to human? Also, why is there only one species--human--with an advanced intellect? I told him that there has been another one but we killed it off. He wanted more information on that because he had never heard of it. I didn't have it with me so he gave me his business card to email the info to him.

 

Here's my email to him from last night:

 

I can't find the DVD I had in mind but I found a good one about "Becoming Human." You can view it at
. It says briefly that there have been many human species living together on this planet and that we are the first to be alone. QUOTE: We know now that for millions of years, many different humanlike species lived together on the planet until one day there was only us.

 

Most of the video regards the evolution from ape to human, based on scientific discovery.

 

As with all scientific research regarding stuff not immediately accessible to the senses, we are working with theory, and there is no absolute proof that the theories are correct. However, theory is all we have. Theories of various physics models work good enough to operate automobiles and heavy computerized machinery (none of which is perfect and guaranteed accident/problem-free) so I wouldn't discount something just because it's called a theory, as some people do. Based on what you told me, you have no more than theory that it is the Christian God that you experience. You cannot provide evidence that your experiences are different from those of mystics of other religions. Atheists have those experiences, too, because it is the way the human psyche has evolved. If I am wrong, I want to be presented with the evidence.

 

After you have watched it, I would be interested to know what gaps you think exist in the thinking of the scientists in the video Becoming Human.

 

In our conversation he insisted that science has so many gaps that require faith. I asked him to lay out the gaps and he failed to do so in our conversation. I am now asking him to do so for a video both of us have watched. He has not yet responded and I'm not holding my breath that he will.

 

I watched what Jaded Atheist posted in this thread. It also mentions various humanoid species, of which we are the only one still to exist.

 

Ouroboros, I have seen Darwin's tree of life and yes, I understand that all of life is related. I would be tempted so much to forward the link of this thread to this Christian, too, but I'm afraid if I do he will be overwhelmed so that he won't respond to anything. I kept him on his toes and in the end he was like the Jehovah's Witnesses who had come to my door the other week. He was trying to get rid of me.

 

I was nowhere near "talked out," but it seemed he was. He seemed to have placed me in the category of "atheist who doesn't want to believe," but he was far too polite to say it. Of course, the setting was a public community event in a city park with vendors of many types and stripes so he was obliged to retain a certain public image. He did not have the protection of insulated brick walls of a church behind which to chastise the unbeliever.

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To simplify this clusterfuck, and to call it a clusterfuck because I'm irritable right now, the following: We did NOT descend from Monkeys, as monkeys are a part of a different group. We are apes, Monkeys are not. Monkeys AND apes, however, are both primates. Dogs are not. But dogs and primates are both mammals.

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Also of interest to this topic is the online video Becoming Human.

 

Thank you so much R.S. for the link. I don't know a lot about evolution and I now am like a little child at the candy store - I can't read, hear enough about the topic. I watched the first hour of this and it is fascinating. I'll be watching this post to read all the different opinions from the gang ......:grin:

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Also of interest to this topic is the online video Becoming Human.

 

Thank you so much R.S. for the link. I don't know a lot about evolution and I now am like a little child at the candy store - I can't read, hear enough about the topic. I watched the first hour of this and it is fascinating. I'll be watching this post to read all the different opinions from the gang ......:grin:

 

It really is amazing how some of us resemble our ancestors...................:twitch:

 

bush-monkey-202x300.jpg

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Also of interest to this topic is the online video Becoming Human.

 

Thank you so much R.S. for the link. I don't know a lot about evolution and I now am like a little child at the candy store - I can't read, hear enough about the topic. I watched the first hour of this and it is fascinating. I'll be watching this post to read all the different opinions from the gang ......:grin:

 

On my forums Atheist Apologist in the Science section I posted a lot of stuff. Possibly you might find more videos that interest you.

 

[FYI, I was getting too many spammers so you have to contact me if you want to join. Send me a pm on exC if you want to join. It is set so you can read but not join or post.]

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We are not descended from apes. We share a common ancestor. We are an ape, primates, we share the same tree. We are descended of humanoids, not apes themselves. Don't forget there used to be a diverse bunch of humanoids on this planet at one time that homo sapiens also mated with, such as Neanderthals. Homo Sapiens just happen to be the remaining species of humanoids, not the only ones ever in existence. Where our common ancestor branched off to apes and monkeys, our branched off to make humanoids.

 

I think it is totally correct to say we descended from apes, just not any currently living apes. No doubt, our common ancestor would be classified as an ape as well. I could be wrong, but I think the common ancestor of apes and monkeys would likely be classified as a monkey. And yes, we're apes. Hominids are apes, just ones that are somewhat different than non-hominid apes.

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Here's my email to him from last night:

 

....

As with all scientific research regarding stuff not immediately accessible to the senses, we are working with theory, and there is no absolute proof that the theories are correct. However, theory is all we have.

....

 

Keep in mind that the Scientific term theory is very different than the common meaning of the term. While many minute details about evolution might be in question, the general premises of the Theory of Evolution are established fact.

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Good video Jaded. The labeling is arbitrary. Modern humans and modern apes share a common ancestor that was also an ape. Humans are classified as apes because we didn't stop being apes as we evolved in much the same way that dogs and cats evolved but neither stopped being mammals. Modern apes (including humans) share a common ancestor with modern monkeys that was also a monkey. As such, modern apes are also monkeys because apes didn't stop being monkeys. Its a bit like argueing whether or not you are descended from your parents or your grandparents. Both are right. One just goes further back and is a broader catagory than the other.

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Just to clarify/confuse things more:

 

 

 

I always knew I was a monkey. :)

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Good video Jaded. The labeling is arbitrary. Modern humans and modern apes share a common ancestor that was also an ape. Humans are classified as apes because we didn't stop being apes as we evolved in much the same way that dogs and cats evolved but neither stopped being mammals. Modern apes (including humans) share a common ancestor with modern monkeys that was also a monkey. As such, modern apes are also monkeys because apes didn't stop being monkeys. Its a bit like argueing whether or not you are descended from your parents or your grandparents. Both are right. One just goes further back and is a broader catagory than the other.

 

Perhaps you make your point but you use unequal metaphors to do so. Cats, dogs, humans, monkeys, apes, and very many other species (including but not limited to cows, horses, elephants, pigs) are all mammals because they have fur or hair on all or part of their bodies, are warm-blooded, and feed their young with milk. Birds, fish, insects, and reptiles, to name some other types of creatures, do not.

 

The pattern I am beginning to see is that just as there are different kinds of dogs (wolf, fox, and domesticated dog as used by humans for pets), cats (tigers, cougars, domesticated cat ), and horses (zebra, domesticated horses), there are different kinds of moneys that include the ape. Of course, we know that within domesticated species of dogs, for example, we have endless numbers of breeds from the tiny chihuahua to the huge St. Bernard. I am not talking about that; I am talking about related species such as fox, wolf, and dog. Or tiger, cougar, and cat.

 

As you can see, dog and cat are two very different kinds of animals--more different than monkey and ape.

 

This is the way things appear to me based on my research for this thread. Possibly a person who has studied this in depth can correct me if I am wrong. Be warned, however, that if you get into scientific zoological terms or whatever, I'm not going to be able to follow and probably won't read it. Keep it simple, please.

 

Also, has anyone actually looked at the link in the OP about apes versus monkeys? Here it is again http://www.diffen.co...e/Ape_vs_Monkey. I notice that the debate in this thread continues but nobody tells me what they agree or disagree with on that page, or why. I'd be interested to know.

 

Thank you.

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This may help:

 

http://en.wikipedia....human_evolution

 

If you scroll down towards the end you will see that humans are descendants of apes that were descendants of monkeys. Essentially, new world monkeys branched off first while apes and old world monkeys forked out of Catarrhini. In other words, apes are our brothers and sisters, old world monkeys our cousins and new world monkeys would be second/third cousins et cetera.

 

Here is a chart on how it breaks down, I think it's somewhat accurate but I'll be corrected if I'm not :P

 

evolution.jpg

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Jaded, thanks for that chart. I didn't realize that we're talking about two different kinds of apes, so that we can at the same time be descended from apes (so they are our parents, grandparents, etc.) and also be siblings with them (so they are our brothers and sisters). I guess with incest that would work but it's not the regular way of arranging family relationships.

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