Chimpanzee

ChimpanzeeChimpanzee — Chimpanzee, often shortened to chimp, is the common name for the two extant species of apes in the genus Pan. The better known chimpanzee is Pan troglodytes, the Common Chimpanzee, living primarily in West, and Central Africa. Its cousin, the Bonobo or “Pygmy Chimpanzee” as it is known archaically, Pan paniscus, is found in the forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Congo River forms the boundary between the two species. Chimpanzees are members of the Hominidae family, along with gorillas, humans, and orangutans.

Anatomical differences between the Common Chimpanzee and the Bonobo are slight, but in sexual and social behaviour there are marked differences. Common Chimpanzees have an omnivorous diet, a troop hunting culture based on beta males led by an alpha male, and highly complex social relationships. Bonobos, on the other hand, have a mostly frugivorous diet and an egalitarian, matriarchal, sexually receptive behavior. The exposed skin of the face, hands and feet varies from pink to very dark in both species, but is generally lighter in younger individuals, darkening as maturity is reached. Bonobos have proportionately longer upper limbs and tend to walk upright more often than the Common Chimpanzee. A University of Chicago Medical Centre study has found significant genetic differences between chimpanzee populations. Different groups of Chimpanzees also have different cultural behavior with preferences for types of tools.

Chimpanzees make tools and use them to acquire foods and for social displays; they have sophisticated hunting strategies requiring cooperation, influence and rank; they are status conscious, manipulative and capable of deception; they can learn to use symbols and understand aspects of human language including some relational syntax, concepts of number and numerical sequence. Young chimpanzees have outperformed human college students in tasks requiring remembering numbers.

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