Last week here on the blog, I talked about why I decided to do an entire month of something. Now of course the question is why monkeys?
To do a full month of any animal, I need to pick an animal that there are a lot of different types to focus on. There are a lot of different types of monkeys, right? I had no idea how true this was!
There are actually over 200 different species of monkeys! Just monkeys! That doesn't count Prosimian (pre-monkeys) or any of the great apes. The exact number of monkeys species is constantly changing as new species are discovered and old ones are reclassified. More than enough for a month of monkeys.
|Black Crested Mangabey|
Another reason I choose monkeys is because I knew so little about them. I've always thought they were cute but, had never paid much attention to them. They are always in the most crowded part of the zoo and often the noisiest, since children love monkeys so much.
I've had a blast researching the different monkey species. There are so many different types and with so many interesting traits. In the process I've also learned a lot about prosimians and apes. My initial list of monkeys to make actually had quite a few non-monkeys on it.
|Black and White Colobus Monkey|
I've also been meaning to make more Squshie monkeys. I didn't realize how many types of monkeys there were, but I knew there were quite a few cute ones. So far the only monkey I've made is Albert, the Colobus Monkey, because the Black and White Colobus has been my favorite type of monkey for years. How can you not love a fur cape?
I've now learned that there are at least 5 different types of Black and White Colobus monkeys! There are also the Red and Olive species of Colobus monkeys. I had no idea there were so many different types.
I also liking knowing the names of different types of animals. I love to guess what type of animal it is and see if I'm correct. It makes me so happy to finally be able to start distinguishing different types of monkeys from each other. I had a blast going through my old zoo photo and being able to put a more specific name to these pictures than just a generic monkey. I'm sure I'm probably going to drive friends and family nuts with my new monkey naming obsession.
I know everyone doesn't geek out about animal stuff like I do, but it makes me sad to hear all hogs called warthogs. All birds just referred to as a bird. Anything small, black and white and running on all fours is automatically deemed a skunk (it could be a badger!). Anything monkey like, is just a monkey. It isn't the not knowing of animal names that bothers me, but often the lack of interest. No desire to find out if their guess or assumption is right. Telling theirs kids an animal is an animal that it most definitely isn't. Zoos are full of signs and information to help you learn about the animals. They might be seeing a super cool and interesting animal they've never heard of, but will never know because they assume it is one familiar to them.
One of my hopes with this project is share some of my excitement about animals with you. I also hope to introduce to you a bunch of wonderful monkeys you might not have heard of. I know a lot of the monkeys I've worked on the past few months I had not heard of before starting this project.I hope my little felt monkeys will spark your interest in finding out more about your favorite monkeys. I've tried my best to be as true to the monkeys as possible with my cartoonish felt likenesses, but felt has its limits in both detail and color.
I'm also not primatologist. Not even a zoologist. I'm just an artist who really likes animals and who has recently become hopelessly fascinated by monkeys. I'm sure I've made mistakes in my interpretations and research. I encourage you to learn more about these amazing animals because they truly are fascianting.