If we evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?


Believe it or not, that’s a question that’s asked a lot on twitter.

If we evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?


If you asked that question, then I’m afraid it means you don’t fully understand evolution. That’s not an insult; it’s a fact. And, as I said above, it’s something a lot of people come out with—you’re not alone!

The short answer to the question is this: We didn’t evolve from modern monkeys. We evolved from a common ancestor—an ancestor of both us and modern monkeys. The monkeys today are like our cousins. But with more generations separating us. A lot more!

Carry on reading if you still have questions. I’m going to try my hardest to read your mind. Please don’t think of anything filthy.

Why didn’t monkeys evolve into humans?

I use the above subtitle because I think your premise for asking why monkeys are still around is that you thought evolution meant all species evolved at the same time, in the same way, no matter what they are or where they are. But that’s not what evolution says.

Hopefully what I said in the above paragraphs has shed a bit more light on the subject, but there might still be some gaps in your knowledge.

To understand why we are humans and why monkeys are monkeys, we have to go back to our common ancestor. Evidence suggests it lived about 5-7 million years ago.

At some point, the group of whatever that species was got separated from the rest and took a different path on its evolutionary journey – one group ended up as modern monkeys and the other evolved into us.

If you’ve got to this point and find it all a bit crazy, the best part of evolution is that we know ALL life is related to each other. Single-celled organisms, whales, trees, lions, grass, wasps and shrimps.

So you now see why the “why are there still monkeys?” question, doesn’t really make sense (whether you accept evolution or not).

Evolution isn’t a planned journey – it doesn’t have a pre-defined destination. It involves random events and that are guided by the environment.

What every species has ended up looking like is a result of their history, including where they lived, when they lived, what happened in the world whilst they were alive. These things and others influence evolution.


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