Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/37

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29
MONKEYS.

to hang and swing by, in the manner so common with the spider-monkeys and their allies. These are rather small-sized animals, with round heads and with moderately long tails. They are very active and intelligent, their limbs are not so long as in the preceding group, and, though they have five fingers on each hand and foot, the hands have weak and hardly opposable thumbs. Some species of these monkeys are often carried about by itinerant organ-men, and are taught to walk erect and perform many amusing tricks. They form the genus Cebus of naturalists.

The remainder of the American monkeys have nonprehensile tails, like those of the monkeys of the Eastern hemisphere; but they consist of several distinct groups, and differ very much in appearance and habits. First we have the Sakis, which have a bushy tail and usually very long and thick hair, something like that of a bear. Sometimes the tail is very short, appearing like a rounded tuft of hair; many of the species have fine bushy whiskers, which meet under the chin, and appear as if they had been dressed and trimmed by a barber, and the head is often covered with thick, curly hair, looking like a wig. Others, again, have the face quite red, and one has the head nearly bald—a most remarkable peculiarity among monkeys. This latter species was met with by Mr. Bates on the upper Amazon, and he describes the face as being of a vivid scarlet, the body clothed from neck to tail with very long, straight, and shining white hair, while the head was nearly bald, owing to the very short crop of thin, gray hairs. As a finish to their striking physiognomy, these monkeys have bushy whiskers, of a sandy color, meeting under the chin, and yellowish-gray eyes. The color of the face is so vivid that it looks as if covered with a thick coat of bright scarlet paint. These creatures are very delicate, and have never reached Europe alive, though several of the allied forms have lived some time in our Zoölogical Gardens.

An allied group consists of the elegant squirrel-monkeys, with long, straight, hairy tails, and often adorned with prettily variegated colors. They are usually small animals; some have the face marked with black and white, others have curious whiskers, and their nails are rather sharp and claw-like. They have large, round heads, and their fur is more glossy and smooth than in most other American monkeys, so that they more resemble some of the smaller monkeys of Africa. These little creatures are very active, running about the trees like squirrels, and feeding largely on insects as well as on fruit.

Closely allied to these are the small group of night-monkeys, which have large eyes, and a round face surrounded by a kind of ruff of whitish fur, so as to give it an owl like appearance, whence they are sometimes called owl-faced monkeys. They are covered with soft, gray fur, like that of a rabbit, and sleep all day long, concealed in hollow trees. The face is also marked with white patches and stripes, giving it a rather carnivorous or cat-like aspect, which, perhaps, serves