Different Facial Features in Monkeys with Down Syndrome

Monkey with Down Syndrome

Having an extra copy of chromosome 21 results in the genetic condition known as Down syndrome in monkeys. One in every 700 human babies is born with this condition, making it the most prevalent chromosomal anomaly. In addition to a distinct facial feature, Down syndrome is associated with a wide range of intellectual and physical impairments.

Although humans make up most cases of Down syndrome, it has been documented in other animals, like monkeys. In reality, a monkey was reported to have Down syndrome for the first time in 1989. Azalea, the female rhesus monkey, shared several characteristics with people with Down syndrome, such as a short neck, a rounded face, and almond-shaped eyes.

Some other cases of Down syndrome in monkeys (including chimpanzees and gorillas) have been documented since then. Nonetheless, there is still a lack of insight on why Down syndrome is so uncommon in monkeys.

Monkeys may be less likely to develop Down syndrome because of their lower life expectancy compared to humans. Monkeys also make up for the extra chromosome more effectively than people do.

Whatever the source, monkeys with Down syndrome can experience many of the same difficulties in life as people with the condition. Monkeys with Down syndrome struggle to learn and socialize like typical monkeys. They may also be at a higher risk of contracting diseases and other health issues. In this article, we’ll cover what the monkey with Down syndrome looks like and its physical characteristics.

What does a Monkey with Down Syndrome look like?

When it comes to the appearance of a monkey, Down syndrome can change a lot in a monkey with a round face, almond-shaped eyes, small mouth, ears, short neck, and many more than we’ll cover below:

Round Face

A rounded face typically characterizes the characteristic facial structure of a monkey with Down syndrome. The cheeks are broader, which contributes to a softer and more delicate overall appearance.

Almond-shaped Eyes that Slant Up

Their eyes have the appearance of almonds and tilt ever-so-slightly upward at the outer corners, giving them a distinctive and easily recognizable look.

Short Neck

A shorter-than-average neck is a frequent characteristic that can have an impact on an individual’s overall posture as well as mobility.

Small Mouth

a close up of a monkey

The mouth is not very large, and there is little space in the oral cavity. This trait may affect the development of both speech and teeth.

Low-set Bridge of the Nose

In monkeys with this type of nose, the bridge of the nose is often low and flat, and the nose tip is typically relatively little and slightly upward.

Small Ears

The ears are likely to be smaller and could have a different form, all contributing to the distinguishing appearance of the face.

Short Stature

The average height of a monkey with Down syndrome is significantly lower than that of a typical species member. Their height typically falls below the average.

Single Palmar Crease on the Hand

A single, deep furrow known as a “simian crease” is something you will find on the palm rather than the more common three wrinkles that run across the palm. It gives the hand a distinctive appearance thanks to how it runs horizontally over the palm.

Hypotonia (Low Muscle Tone)

Low-set Bridge Nose monkey

Hypotonia causes a decrease in muscle tone, affecting both the body’s strength and motor skills. This low muscular tone might influence their movements and posture, giving their gestures a unique quality that can be floppy or loose.

Even though they are unusual, these physical characteristics are simply a part of monkeys. In the same way, people without Down syndrome have a wide range of personalities, feelings, and capacities; monkeys with the condition are also distinct and important contributors to society.

Physical Characteristics of Monkeys with Down Syndrome

A disorder similar to Down syndrome, called trisomy 22, can cause monkeys to have a number of physical characteristics similar to those seen in people with Down syndrome. These are the following:

Retarded Growth

The physical development of monkeys is frequently stunted or impeded compared to regular monkeys.

Facial Abnormalities

These monkeys can have unique facial traits, like people with Down syndrome, such as a flatter face, eyes that tilt upward, and a smaller nose.

Dental Issues

Monkeys with trisomy 22 often have hypodontia, a disease in which teeth are missing or not fully developed.

Vision Problems

These monkeys have infantile cataracts, a clouding of the eye’s lens that starts at birth and makes it hard to see.

Congenital Heart Disease

Some monkeys with trisomy 22 can be born with heart problems, similar to a problem that often happens in people with Down syndrome.

It’s important to remember that these physical traits can look and be as bad in different monkeys, just like the signs of Down syndrome can look and be different in different people.


What are the causes of Down syndrome in monkeys?

A person or monkey with Down syndrome has the exact cause: an extra copy of chromosome 21. This can happen because of an event that doesn’t happen at the right time during meiosis, the cell division process that makes gametes (sperm and eggs).

Is there a cure for Down syndrome in monkeys?

For monkeys, there is no known cure. Nonetheless, some therapies can help the disordered monkeys live better lives. Early intervention programs, special education services, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech therapy are possible treatment options.

What is the life expectancy of a monkey with Down syndrome?

Monkeys with Down syndrome typically have a lifespan of 15 to 20 years. With the right care, some monkeys with Down syndrome have lived up to 30 years.

Can monkeys with Down syndrome reproduce?

Yes, monkeys with Down syndrome can reproduce, but their offspring are also more likely to have Down syndrome.

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