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A primate is any member of the biological order Primate, the group that contains all the species commonly related to the lemurs, monkeys, and apes, with the latter category including humans.
Primates are generally characterized as having five fingers, a generalized dental pattern, and a primitive (unspecialized) body plan. Another distinguishing feature of primates is fingernails. Opposing thumbs are also a characteristic primate feature.
Monkeys are known for their long prehensile tails and extreme agility. In captivity, they have a habit of imitating the movements of people watching them, which gave rise to the term "ape", meaning to mimic. Monkeys are usually characterized as mischievous and rude. The monkey is a sign of the Chinese zodiac.
Apes include gibbons, orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees, and humans. A few other primates have the word "ape" in their common names, but they are not regarded as true apes by most authorities.
Except for gorillas and humans, all true apes are agile climbers of trees. They are best described as omnivorous, their diet consisting of fruit, grass seeds, and in most cases some quantities of meat and invertebrates—either hunted or scavenged—along with anything else available and easily digested. They are native to Africa and Asia, although humans have spread to all parts of the world.
Primates and furry
It is uncertain why monkeys are so rare as characters, but one possibility is that they are perceived as too much like man to be interesting.
- In the film adaptations of The Jungle Book, King Louie's minions were monkeys.
- Monkeyshine Productions/Epoch Ink's Captain Simian and the Space Monkeys was a noteworthy attempt to explore monkeys as characters.
- Crossgen Comics' Way of the Rat also features a wise yet flippant talking monkey named Po Po.
- Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! is an animated television series following the story of five robotic monkeys and a human boy named Chiro as they struggle against the evil forces of the Skeleton King, their nemesis.
- Son Goku/Wukong a.k.a. The Monkey King from Chinese folk tales is often portrayed as half-way between monkey and human in most modern adaptations and homages of the story.
- Two modern Gokus include the one from Koei's Saiyuki strategy game on PS1 and as a character in Warriors Orochi 2
- Son Son from the game of the same name is another example of this character. His granddaughter, also named Son Son, appears in Marvel vs Capcom 2
- The budget shooter The Monkey King on Wii features two in the form of Wukong (Michael in Japan) and Mei Mei, a female monkey with hair buns in a chinese dress.
Apes are not as common as well (excluding human characters), and usually only gorillas are portrayed. Gorilla fursuits can often be seen, often worn by novice fursuiters, due to the common merchandising of gorilla costumes due to their use as a gag outside of the furry fandom.
- The most famous human who thinks he's a non-human ape is Tarzan, Lord of the Apes. Tarzan was an infant, reared by a family of gorillas and believes he too is a gorilla until he meets others like him. This story has been parodied as well in George of the Jungle.
- A fictional race of anthropomorphic highly intelligent gorillas exist in the DC Comics universe in a secret city of gorillas, including a Flash villain named Gorilla Grodd.
- The giant gorilla is a recurring theme in film, especially in the various incarnations of King Kong and Mighty Joe Young
- Fester Bestertester, the protagonist of Don Martin's Mad Magazine strip "National Gorilla-Suit Day" is beset by gorillas (or persons dressed as gorillas). "National Gorilla-Suit Day" is celebrated every year on January 31st. Writer Mark Evanier promotes this holiday on his web site , .
- Gorillas are often used as mascots for schools and sports team.
- Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas, is the only public college in the United States to have a gorilla as mascot.
- The Phillips Academy boarding school in Andover, Massachusetts has a gorilla as an informal mascot.
- The Phoenix Suns mascot is called The Gorilla.
- The Kong family from Donkey Kong Country consists primarily of apes (Diddy Kong is the sole exception). Candy Kong and the recent redesign of Tiny Kong being the most anthropomorphic of the bunch.