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Our Closest Relatives
Primates are a type of mammal that includes monkeys, apes, chimpanzees, lemurs, and humans. All of these arose from ancestors that lived in the trees of tropical forests. Therefore, many characteristics of these animals represent adaptations to life in that challenging environment. Most primate species remain at least partly arboreal, or tree-dwelling.
With the exception of humans, who inhabit every continent, most primates live in tropical or subtropical regions. That is, they live in the Americas, Africa and Asia. Varied in size and appearance, these animals can be as small as Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur, which weighs only 30 g (1 oz), or as large as the eastern gorilla, weighing over 200 kg (440 lb.)