Chimpanzee

Chimpanzee Facts
Size Up to 5.5 lb (1.70 m)
Speed Up to 24.8 mph (40 km/h)
Weight Up to 154 lb (70 kg)
Lifespan 50-60 years
Food Leaves, fruits, nuts, insects, small mammals
Predators Leopards, snakes
Habitat Africa
Order Primates
Family Hominids
Scientific name Pan
Characteristics Human-like primate

Chimps are very intelligent primates that are capable of recognizing themselves in a mirror and use tools. They live in families of 6 - 10 animals, form communities of up to 100 animals, are active during the day and feed on about 80 different fruits, seeds, leaves, bark, honey, flowers and insects.

Chimps are 99 % Human

Chimps are our closest relatives genetically. Their genotype resp. the genetic information in their cells coincides with ours 99 %. But we completely differ regarding our appearance, physique and intelligence. It is really stunning, that 1 % can make such a difference.

Chimpanzee Chimpanzee - Photo: Abeselom Zerit/Shutterstock

Chimps Can Stand Upright

Chimps spend most of the time in trees swinging from branch to branch. On the ground they mostly run on all fours, but sometimes they stand upright and then are 3.9 to 5.5 ft (1.2 to 1.7 m) tall.

Chimps have Opposable Thumbs

The term oppose comes from the latin word "opponere". Animals with thumbs like this can oppose their thumbs to the other fingers and thus grab or work on things more easily. Other animals with opposable thumbs are the great pandas, red pandas, koalas, opossums, other primates and chameleons. We humans also have thumbs like this.

Chimpanzee Chimpanzee - Photo: Andrew Zarivny/Shutterstock

Knuckle-Walking Chimps

When chimps move on the ground they normally tread with the soles of their hind feet. Yet, with their hands they form a fist and only touch the ground with the middle phalanges. This so-called knuckle-walk protects the delicate fingers, which are needed for the use of tools or to grab the branches of trees.

Chimps Eat Medicinal Plants

Chimps eat specific plants when they are ill or injured. They clean their intestines from parasites by feeding on certain leaves. In one of these plants, scientists even discovered some remedy against tumor diseases.

Chimps Use Tools

Chimps crack nuts by means of stones and use thin sticks to get delicious termites out of their mound. Even though chimps are supposed to be the world’s most intelligent animals, they are not the only ones to use tools. Amongst others, orangutans, ravens, elephants and otters also are capable of this.

How Chimps Communicate

In order to communicate, Chimps primarily use their body language. They clap their hands for instance or groom each other. Yet, they also communicate how they are feeling with their facial expressions. When they are frightened or excited, they distinctly show their teeth – humans often misinterpret this as a smile.

Chimps Can Also Get Bald

Older chimps often have the same problems as their human relatives: They lose their hair! When they get older, their forehead becomes bald and their beard gets grey.

Chimpanzee Chimpanzee - Photo: Michal Ninger/Shutterstock

Reproduction Among Chimps

Chimps become mature at an age of 13-16 years. After a gestation period of 7-8 months, they give birth to a young chimp. At first, the baby clings to its mother’s tummy. Later it rides on her back. It is breast-fed for 3 years. At an age of 4 years it can walk and it stays with its mother until it is 7 years old.

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