As a whole, the mandrill is characterized by heaviness of body, stoutness and strength of limb, and exceeding shortness of tail, which is a mere stump, not 2 in.
Not much is known of the mandrill's habits in the wild state, nor of the exact limits of its geographical distribution; the specimens brought to Europe coming from the west coast of tropical Africa, from Guinea to the Gaboon.
Together with the drill (q.v.), the mandrill, Papio maimon, constitutes the subgenus Maimon, which is exclusively West African in distribution, and characterized, among other peculiarities, by the extreme shortness of the tail, and the great development of the longitudinal bony swellings, covered during life with naked skin, on the sides of the muzzle.
The named Arabian baboon, P. hamadryas of North Africa and Arabia, dedicated by the ancient Egyptians to the god Thoth, and the South Arabian P. arabicus, typify Hamadryas; while the drill and mandrill of the west coast, P. leucophaeus and P. maimon, constitute the subgenus Maimon.