Natural History of the Mammalia of India and Ceylon - by Robert A. Sterndale F.R.G.S., F.Z.S. (1884)|
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The monkeys of the Indian Peninsula are restricted to a few groups, of which the principal one is that of the "Semnopitheci". These monkeys are distinguished not only by their peculiar black faces, with a ridge of long stiff black hair projecting forwards over the eyebrows, thin slim bodies and long tails, but by the absence of cheek pouches, and the possession of a peculiar sacculated stomach, which, as figured in Cuvier, resembles a bunch of grapes. Jerdon says of this group that, out of five species found on the continent there is only one spread through all the plains of Central and Northern India, and one through the Himalayas, whilst there are three well-marked species in the extreme south of the Peninsula; but then he omits at least four species inhabiting Chittagong, Tenasserim, Arracan, which also belong to the continent of India, though perhaps not to the actual Peninsula. Sir Emerson Tennent, in his 'Natural History of Ceylon,' also mentions and figures three species, of which two are not included in Jerdon's 'Mammals,' though incidentally spoken of. I propose to add the Ceylon Mammalia to the Indian, and therefore shall allude to these further on.
The next group of Indian monkeys is that of the Macaques or Magots, or Monkey Baboons of India, the "Lal Bundar" of the natives. They have simple stomachs and cheek pouches, which last, I dare say, most of us have noticed who have happened to give two plantains in succession to one of them.
Although numerically the "Langurs" or Entellus Monkeys form the most important group of the Quadrumana in India, yet the Gibbons (which are not included by Jerdon) rank highest in the scale, though the species are restricted to but three - "Hylobates hooluck", "H. lar" and "H. syndactylus". They are superior in formation (that is taking man as the highest development of the form, to which some people take objection, though to my way of thinking there is not much to choose between the highest type of monkey and the lowest of humanity, if we would but look facts straight in the face), and they are also vastly superior in intellect to either the "Langurs" or the "Macaques", though inferior perhaps to the Ourangs.