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Common Chimpanzee
in Cameroon's South Province
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Family: Hominidae
Subfamily: Homininae
Tribe: Hominini
Subtribe: Panina
Genus: Pan
Oken, 1816
A Bonobo

Chimpanzees are great apes of the genus Pan. They live in Africa.

Taxonomy[change | edit source]

Habitat[change | edit source]

The common chimpanzee lives in West and Central Africa. The bonobo lives in the rain forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The two species are on opposite sides of the Congo River.

Life and description[change | edit source]

Chimpanzees mainly eat fruit, leaves, flowers, seeds, bark, honey, insects, bird eggs, and meat. They spend a lot of time with other chimpanzees from their group, acting up, playing, and chatting. Sometimes they will groom each other; combing and looking through each other's thick fur; picking out the dirt and insects. Grooming helps chimps feel comfortable and friendly.

Like apes, chimpanzees can walk on two feet, but they prefer to move about on all four legs. They have hands that look like human hands, but their thumbs are shorter than those of humans. At night, chimpanzees sleep in nests that they make on tree branches. They bend twigs and tuck in leaves to make a soft platform to rest in a place that is safe from enemies on the ground. The gestation period of chimpanzees lasts between six and eight months. Usually only one offspring is produced; they rarely have twins. Chimpanzees live up to 60 years in the wild.[1]

Jane Goodall, an expert that studies all types of primates (primatologist), has been studying chimpanzees since 1960. Dr. Goodall observed how chimpanzees use tools in several ways. They will pick up rocks to crack nuts for a meal. They also strip down twigs and stick them into a termite mound to collect a tasty snack. Some have been known to make a sponge from leaves in order to hold more drinking water. The chimp chews leaves to soften them up, dips them in rainwater, and then squeezes the water into its mouth. Chimpanzees are also known to think ahead and solve problems.[2][3]

Communication[change | edit source]

Chimpanzees show their emotions with their faces and sounds. They make hooting sounds to express the discovery of food, and the face of a chimpanzee with a scowling face and lips pressed is to express annoyance. This means the chimpanzee may attack. Or, the chimpanzee may bare its teeth to express that it is afraid or that a more dominant chimp is approaching.[1]p74/5

Bonobos[change | edit source]

Bonobos are smaller than other chimpanzees. They tend to climb in the trees more than other chimps. They are more like monkeys in that way.[4]

Relationship with humans[change | edit source]

According to a genome study done by the Chimpanzee Sequencing and Analysis Consortium, humans share either 96% or 95% of their DNA with chimpanzees. However, this applies only to single nucleotide polymorphisms, that is, changes in single base pairs only. The full picture is rather different.

24% of the chimpanzee genome does not align with the human genome, and so cannot be directly compared. There are 3% further alignment gaps, 1.23% SNP differences, and 2.7% copy number variations totaling at least 30% differences between chimpanzee and Homo sapiens genomes. On the other hand, 30% of all human proteins are identical in sequence to the corresponding chimpanzee proteins.[5]

Other pages[change | edit source]

References[change | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Pous, Dinorah (2003). Blue Planet English through Science level 5. Alpha Omega Publications. ISBN 970-10-3769-3.
  2. Köhler, Wolfgang 1925. The mentality of apes, transl. from the 2nd German edition by Ella Winter. Kegan, Trench: London and Harcourt, Brace and World: New York. Original was Intelligenzprüfungen an Anthropoiden, Berlin 1917.
  3. The Jane Goodall Institute: "Chimpanzee Central", 2008.
  4. Buskey, Teresa K. LIFEPAC History and Geography. Alpha Omega Publications. p. 39. ISBN 978-1-58095-155-5.
  5. The Chimpanzee Sequencing and Analysis Consortium (2005). "Initial sequence of the chimpanzee genome and comparison with the human genome". Nature 437 (1 September 2005): 69–87. doi:10.1038/nature04072. PMID 16136131.