Chimpanzees are one of the closest primate cousins to humans. Though their count is decreasing day by day due to the loss in their habitat which relates to deforestation and climate change. To create more awareness about the diminishing ratio of these primates, the World Chimpanzee Day is celebrated, which falls on July 14. Chimpanzee is a great ape with its long ears and having mostly black coloration with lighter skin on the face and is native to the forest of West and Central Africa. Each and every species on earth has some unique characteristics and facts about themselves, Chimpanzees have some interesting and fascinating facts which might change your perspective whenever you think about it.
Here are some facts about chimpanzees.
1. 95 to 98 percent of DNA is shared in common between humans and Chimpanzees.
DNA being unique in each species, even in individual, we humans share our most DNA characteristics with the Chimpanzees. Talking about biological characteristics, we humans are much more closely related to the Chimpanzees. Human history clarifies our species being descended from a single ancestor species that lived approx. 7 million years ago.
2. Wild Chimpanzees can only be found in Africa
Chimpanzee’s native place is in West and Central Africa, they are located in about 21 African countries, but are majorly found in Central Africa. The large population of Chimpanzees can be found in rainforest areas of Africa as they need access to fruits and a water supply.
3. Ability to learn Human languages such as Sign language
Having much similar DNA with humans makes chimpanzees intelligent as well when it comes to learning new things. For about 20 years, humans are trying to teach sign languages to chimpanzees and other apes which can make their conversation easier. According to the study of sign languages, chimpanzees have been able to pick up the American Sign Language (ASL). A chimpanzee known as Washoe, was the first non-human to learn sign language of ASL to communicate and was able to learn almost 350 signs among them. Washoe was also able to pass the ability of learning signs to her adopted son later on.
4. Chimpanzees are one of those few animals known to use tools
Being much like humans, they have one more thing in common, i.e., utilizing the self-made tools for different purposes, like to feed and protect themselves. They have found many ingenious ways to all those practices. Chimpanzees used their creativity in using tools for their benefit, from using the small branches of trees to dig out the termites from their mounds, to the smashing of rocks to crack open the nuts to searching the right length of wig to scratch their back or their body.
5. Chimpanzees are omnivorous
A healthy diet of chimpanzees includes everything found on land or forest like seeds, leaves, insects, honey and even roots. Though they tend to have more fruits among all the food they eat. Chimpanzees also have been recorded to hunt other wildlife like monkeys and small antelope for meat. According to chimpanzees, the fact of feeding is the individual activity, but they are known to work in groups occasionally.
6. Chimpanzees can walk on two legs
All commonly known animals walk on their four legs, but chimps can also use their two legs to walk. They get around mostly by climbing and swinging from tree to tree. Not unlike Gorillas, Chimps usually use their four legs to walk but are also recorded to walk on two feet on the rare occasion.
7. Chimpanzees are currently an Endangered Species
IUCN (International Union of the Conversation of Nature) has declared Chimpanzee as an endangered species. Due to the decreasing of the ratio of the chimpanzees they have now entered the list of endangered species. Due to the increase in human activities like logging, mining, oil extraction and highway projects, the natural habitat of chimpanzees have greatly impacted, causing the decrease in the number of their species.
8. Cheeta from Tarzan was made by using many chimpanzee
It’s true there wasn’t a single chimpanzee in the movie but a few dozen were casted for the role. About 20 chimpanzees have played the role as the different scenes required different talents.
9. Four common subspecies
The first one to the spot is central chimp Cameroon, the second is the western chimp found in the Ivory Coast, the third being the Nigeria Cameroon chimp from Nigeria and the fourth is Eastern chimp from Uganda.
10. Likely to be used in laboratory
For invasive research there are hundreds of chimps that are kept in the laboratories in captivity. Which makes them one of the common lab animals for years and years.
11. Kept as pets
Though keeping them as pets is illegal yet some people have them at their homes. But this could be dangerous as they might get aggressive at times.
12. Shown as clowns
In the field of entertainment they are often portrayed as clowns at circus stage or in acts. There are typically the young ones who are a lot affectionate at that time.
13. Black fur
When they are little they do have white tufts on their backside but those shed off after they reach adulthood. But when they turn older they might turn grey from black.
14. Emotional like us
Just like we humans have emotions the same way chimpanzees have emotions too in various situations. They express their emotions using actions and movements.
15. Can’t swim
Even though most of their homes are near water they are still unable to swim. Because of the density of their body and how they are formed. As they tend to have long arms and short legs it’s tough for them to swim in deep water bodies.
16. Can have Alzheimer
Earlier it was found that only humans are affected by this disease but later it was seen in Chimps as well. This disease might even lead to physical changes in their brain.
17. Signal for danger
They instinctively produce the sound to make the tribe aware about the approaching danger. By this sign the chimps move towards the safety zone away from the occurring danger.
18. Play games
The scientists found out that they can create and learn easy games just like a 4 year old kid. It could be rock paper scissors or anything new that they invent.
19. Grooming is vital
It’s just a common act for apes and monkeys. It helps them stay fit and even build bonds between parties and reinforce social structure.
20. Three babies in a lifetime
The females are able to give birth to 3 infants on an average. Though delivering twins is extremely rare.
21. Empathetic in nature
Just like us humans the chimps have the ability to empathize too. That’s what makes them connect with the unfamiliar individuals and species.
22. Social animals
‘Parties’ is a term used for small and temporary groups in which the chimps spend time. While some groups would be 100 chimps at a time which follow a strict hierarchy.
Unknown facts to be known about the unnoticeable species but an important one. Creating an awareness about chimpanzees and the reason they are about too extinct and them being endangered should be publicized in large amount to be able to save the species before being extinct.
Read also – 20 Fascinating Facts about Space