Old World monkey

The Old World monkeys are, as a family, of higher grade, larger size, and greater historical interest than those of America. Fossil remains show that the tribe is an old one, and was once able to range all over Europe; now the few half-captive and altogether mischievous apes on the rock of Gibraltar represent all that remain of a species once numerous even in northern France, and so recently as the Pleistocene. This ape is a macaque (Macacus), a genus that otherwise is purely Asiatic and contains some of the most celebrated of the monkeys. Thus, the suitably named pig-tailed macaque of the Far East is trained, in Sumatra and Borneo, to climb the coconut palms and select and throw down ripe nuts—the most really useful thing to the credit of monkeys; the Japanese species is the one that is so much used in the decorative designs of that artistic people; and the best known of all is the common Bengal or rhesus monkey, which is revered by some sects of Hindus, and is treated with tolerance or made a pet of, or an aid to jugglers, throughout India. Several other macaques are common pets and servants in the East. The macaques go about in flocks, and often come to the ground. All have the habit of cramming food into their cheek pouches for mastication at leisure. The majority of the species are very docile when young.

Closely related to the macaques are the mangabeys, or white-eyelidded monkeys of West Africa, and the central African genus Cercopithecus, which includes many small-sized, handsome, tree-living kinds, of which the most widely known is the diana monkey, whose long fringe of white hair hanging from its neck and chest is in much demand in the fur market. Even nearer relatives are those interesting but often repulsive creatures, the baboons, between which and macaques stands the doglike, stub-tailed, ground-keeping black ape of Celebes. This eastern instance of an otherwise African group, like the single western macaque, indicates, what fossil remains prove, that both genera were once far more wide-ranging than at present.