Posted on February 8, 2016
|Los Angeles Chinese New Year parade|
Chinese New Year is one of the world's biggest holidays. More than a billion people celebrate it, all over the world, especially in Asian countries such as China, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, Thailand, Mauritius, North and South Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, and Philippines. There are major celebrations in cities on other continents – especially cities with large populations of Chinese people. Here are just a few cities in the U.S. with large Chinese New Year celebrations: San Francisco, New York City, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Seattle, and Los Angeles.
This year is called the Year of the Monkey. There are 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac, and each year is assigned to one sign in a rotation. Babies born in 2016 are born in the Year of the Monkey, as are people who were born in 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968, 1956, and so on...
According to ancient Chinese lore, people born in the Year of the Monkey are supposed to be innovative, clever, and enthusiastic. But of course this tradition is considered just-for-fun, these days – there's no data that supports the idea that people born in particular years are more innovative and clever than people born in other years!
To learn more about Chinese New Year, check out these earlier posts:
About those monkeys...
All monkeys are primates (a large group – what is referred to as “an order” of mammals). But lemurs, tarsiers, chimpanzees, gorillas, and we humans are also primates – and none of us are monkeys!
Almost all monkeys have tails. Most New World monkeys have prehensile tails that can grip branches (or whatever), but Old World monkeys have non-prehensile tails that are just used for balance. Barbary macaques (sometimes called Barbary apes, even though they are not apes) have no tail at all.
The term “monkey” isn't very useful in biology. That's because the Old World monkeys are more closely related to apes, including humans, than they are to New World monkeys. So although the term “Old World monkeys” is useful, and the term “New World monkeys” is useful, just the term “monkeys” is NOT useful as a taxonomic label.
Here are a few examples of Old World monkeys:
And here are a few New World monkeys:
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