We’ve already covered the largest primates on Earth – gorillas. But now it is the time to cover, probably, the smartest primates, right after us – humans, of course. Those smart primates are chimpanzees. And although many people don’t want to admit this – chimps are actually, in many ways, very similar to us. Don’t believe it? Read the facts below to find out about many things that many people don’t know about chimpanzees. Here’s 15 Unbelievable Facts About Chimpanzees.
- Along with gorillas, bonobos and orangutans, chimpanzees are considered to be great apes. They have long arms extending beyond their knees, short legs, they walk on all-fours, have their bodies covered with dark hair, their faces flat with big eyes, a small nose and a wide mouth.
- Chimpanzee males, on average, weigh around 41 and 52 kilograms or 90 and 115 pounds. They are also about 122 cm or 4 feet tall.
- Despite them being smaller than most people, chimps are way stronger than us. A fully grown chimpanzee male is a about 5 times stronger than an average fully grown human male.
- In the wild, chimpanzees live to be about 50 years of age. In captivity, they live to be about 60 years of age.
- Chimps live in the tropical forests and woodland savannas of West and Central Africa. Nowadays, their populations are fragmented, but they mostly live in Gabon, Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon.
- Chimpanzees are our closest animal relatives, after bonobos, as we share 98.5% of the same DNA.
- In nature, chimpanzees in live groups of 15 to 80 members who are all led by a dominant alpha-male. They sleep, travel and feed in smaller sub-groups of up to 10 members who can change on a daily base.
- After humans, chimpanzees are the smartest primates in the world and, arguably, the smartest animals. They can communicate with each other by making gestures, facial expressions and various sounds (hoots, grunts and screams). Each chimp has a distinct pant-hoot that they use to communicate with and differentiate each other, much like we use names. They also use different tools for different things. They also often walk many kilometers in search of certain medicinal herbs when they’re sick.
- Chimpanzees are great at grooming, and often help each other by brushing their fingers along the heir of their fellow chimps to remove any dirt, pesky parasites or dead skin that can be found in it. This helps them to be clean and hygienic, but also help to build and maintain good relationships with each other.
- For the longest time, chimps were thought to be herbivores, but nowadays it’s rather clear that they are omnivores. They mostly eat fruit, but also leaves, flowers, seeds, bird eggs, insects and other animals like different monkeys and wild pigs.
- Chimps also engage in tribal warfare with chimps from other tribes and often tear them apart and kill them in gruesome ways.
- Chimpanzees are pretty playful and they even laugh when they do so.
- Chimps tend to live, hunt and escape from predators on trees, walk on ground on all-fours, but they can also walk upright on their legs if they choose to.
- Toxoplasma gondii is a microscopic single-celled bacteria, which can only reproduce in the stomachs of felines and it affects many various mammals and birds all over the world by acting as intermediate hosts, forming cysts in their brains and certain other organs. By doing so, they rewire certain neural circuits of their victims, making them attracted to certain feline’s urine and diminish or completely take away their fear response to these predators making them easy prey. Once the poor-animal is eaten by the feline, the parasite enter feline’s stomach and begins to reproduce finishing it’s life-cycle. When the new Toxoplasma gondii exit the feline’s body through it’s feces, waiting to get consumed by their new victims. This also affects chimps. Research done in Gabon, shows that chimp get affected by this parasite, become attracted to, for example, leopard urine and often get eaten by them. And what’s even more interesting, is that this parasite doesn’t make chimps attracted to the urine of other felines like lions or tigers, neither of which prey on chimps.
- Female chimps give birth to a single chimpanzee or, sometimes, twins. And they do so every 5 to 6 years. For the first six months, baby chimps cling to the bellies of their mothers, and after that, they ride their mothers backs until they are about two years of age. And after that they spend seven to ten years alongside their mothers learning to gather food, hunt, use tools for various reasons and make nests to sleep in. That’s the last fact of 15 Unbelievable Facts About Chimpanzees.
And for now, that’s it about the chimpanzees. Truly, they are magnificent, intelligent, but also, sometimes ruthless, cruel and independent creatures that are very fascinating and, sometimes, terrifyingly similar to us – humans. Which is not surprising considering the similar DNA that we share with them. And that’s it for this 15 Unbelievable Facts About Chimpanzees article.