chimpanzee (Troglodytes bread) also known as the common chimpanzee, it is closely related to the bonobo (one of the two species that make up the genus of chimpanzees, 'Pan') or pygmy chimpanzee.

Species

Chimpanzees are intelligent animals and have a complex system of behavior and communication. Several subspecies of this intelligent animal have been recognized:

  • Central chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes troglodytes troglodytes), originating from Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, the Central African Republic, the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • West African chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus), originally from Guinea, Mali, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria.
  • Nigerian-Cameroonian chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes vellerosus), originally from Nigeria and Cameroon.
  • Eastern chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii), originally from the Central African Republic, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and Zambia.
The chimpanzee is a sociable animal that lives in large groups.

Features

Adult chimpanzees in the wild weigh between 40 and 65 kilograms. Males can measure up to 160 centimeters and females up to 130 centimeters tall. Although they are lighter than humans, they have a strength of five to six times greater. This is because their muscles and those of other primates are much more effective than those of humans.

The body of chimpanzees is covered with thick dark brown hair, except for the face, fingers, toes, palms, and soles of the feet. Both its thumbs and large fingers are opposable, allowing a precision grip.

Behavior

Common chimpanzees live in communities that typically range from 20 to more than 150 members, but spend most of their time traveling in small groups of only a few individuals. Common chimpanzees are arboreal and terrestrial, spending equal time in trees and on the ground.

Common chimpanzees walk using the soles of their feet and resting on their knuckles, but they can walk upright for short distances. Common chimpanzees are considered knuckle walkers, like gorillas, in contrast to the quadruped locomotion (a form of locomotion of terrestrial animals with four legs) of orangutans and bonobos known as 'palm walkers' that use the outer edge of their palms.

Sign language

Sign language is when you use your arms, hands, and fingers to make words instead of using your mouth. Chimpanzees are smart enough to learn sign language, and scientists have been able to communicate with these smart apes in this way.

Chimpanzees share a lot of DNA (the material that tells our bodies how to grow) with humans.

Habitat

Common chimpanzees are found in the tropical forests and humid savannas of western and central Africa at low elevations. The chimpanzee will spend time both in trees and on the ground, but will usually sleep in a tree where it will make a nest for the night. They once inhabited most of that region, but their habitat has been drastically reduced in recent years.

Distribution

To avoid confusion, we have outlined the natural distribution to each species within its section, above.

Food

Like humans, chimpanzees are omnivores, which means that their diet consists of plants and animals. Some of the foods that a chimpanzee eats include seeds, fruits, leaves, bark, insects such as termites, and small prey. Chimpanzees often use a twig as a tool to help them reach termites or ants in nests and have been seen using sticks to hunt other small mammals.

There are also cases of organized hunting. In some cases, such as the killing of leopard cubs, this appears to be primarily a protection effort, as the leopard is the main natural predator of the common chimpanzee. However, chimpanzees sometimes band together and hunt western red colobus monkeys (Piliocolobus badius) to get meat. Isolated cases of cannibalism have also been documented.

Predators

Chimpanzees are made of flesh and blood, and various animals eat them, although, in practice, they have very few predators in their natural habitat. They are very powerful primates, very agile when moving through the trees; They have exceptional intelligence and an extraordinary social life. Therefore, not many animals dare to attack a chimpanzee, and although these are rare, they do happen sometimes.

One of the predators of chimpanzees is the leopard (Panthera pardus), a wide-ranging feline with powerful claws, sharp teeth, and incredible strength. It can easily climb trees, so it is not especially difficult to reach a chimpanzee. In the Lopé and Taï national parks, in the Ivory Coast and Gabon, respectively, leopard attacks are one of the most important causes of death for these primates.

Leopards can feed on bonobos and common chimpanzees, but these primates sometimes kill the offspring of these cats to reduce the chances of being attacked when they grow up. It sounds harsh, but it is just a strategy that is meant to increase your chances of survival.

Seba python o african rock python (Python sebae) is the largest snake in Africa, and if it gets the chance, it can't resist feeding on a chimpanzee. It is also one of the six largest snakes in the world, and it kills its prey by constriction, that is, by suffocation by wrapping itself around it. Pythons are stealthy and climb trees quickly. An unsuspecting chimpanzee is highly vulnerable to its attacks.

Other occasional predators are the leones (Panthera leo). Lions have been observed attacking them in the Mahale Mountains National Park in Tanzania. Lions, although they can climb trees, often kill chimpanzees when they are on the ground. Observations of attacks by these cats are very rare in other areas where both species live. Similarly, it is possible that martial eagles (Poleamaetus war) hunt young common chimpanzees.

These attacks on chimpanzees are not frequent and are usually carried out by animals that live in the same area as them, or their territories overlap so that they can find each other. However, chimpanzees are not an essential part of the diet of these predators, and the victims are often infants, the elderly, young or weak individuals.

It is known that chimpanzees, mainly the Troglodytes bread, attack, kill and consume the meat of other specimens of the same species, generally descendants and members that do not belong to their communities. This behavior is not directly related to their need to feed themselves, but it probably is and is an activity to establish dominance over others. When males kill and eat the offspring of a female, what they are trying to do is remove the genes or offspring that are not theirs.

The chimpanzee is the animal most similar to the human being.
The chimpanzee is the animal most similar to the human being.

But there is a more dangerous predator than pythons, leopards, lions, martial eagles, and even chimpanzees: humans. For a long time, people have exploited the qualities of these apes, such as their intelligence and human-like characteristics, and used them to their advantage. In addition, we indirectly affect their populations by cutting down trees and growing urban areas, resulting in habitat loss and fragmentation. For these and other reasons, both species of chimpanzees are in danger of extinction.

Defense

Usually living in trees keeps them safe from land animals, but their natural predators can climb trees. Some males build their nests in the lower parts of the trees; one of the reasons could be the protection of females from terrestrial predators.

If they are lucky enough to see an approaching enemy, they issue strong warnings to their groupmates so they can quickly escape. Sometimes they have no choice but to face danger and try to survive.

When confronted with predators, they emit loud screams and use whatever object they have at their disposal to scare off predators and defend themselves against them. If the animal does not retreat, it quickly escapes through the trees trying to protect its life.

Reproduction

The gestation period of the female will last between 7,5 and 8 months. A chimpanzee usually gives birth to a baby, but occasionally gives birth to twins. Babies are weaned when they are around 3 years old, but they usually maintain a close relationship with their mother for several more years. Chimpanzees reach puberty at the age of 8 to 10 years and their life in captivity is about 50 years.

Is the chimpanzee a monkey?

No, chimpanzees are not monkeys, although they are both members of the group of mammals known as primates.

In fact, chimpanzees are apes. And not just any ape. Chimpanzees (and their closely related bonobos) are members of the hominin family, or "great apes." Members of this family are called hominids. The other members of the great ape family are gorillas, orangutans, and humans.

Chimpanzees look a bit like monkeys, but chimpanzees don't have tails, while monkeys do. In fact, this is the main difference between apes and monkeys. Apes are also generally larger than monkeys.

The closest animal relationship to the chimpanzee is the Bonobos. They are both in the genus Pan. (A genus is a group of closely related animals.)

State of conservation

With only 100.000 to 200.000 individuals in the wild and about 250 in zoos in the United States, chimpanzees are among the most threatened primates in Africa. It is listed by the IUCN Red List as In danger (EN).

The main cause of the conservation status of the chimpanzee is caused by human-created deforestation.

Popular culture

  • Ham it was a chimpanzee that was the first hominid to be launched into outer space.
  • Proyecto X is a 1987 science fiction film about chimpanzees being tested by the military.
  • Chimpanzees are endangered due to habitat loss and hunting for meat.

List of other interesting animals