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Chimpanzee
Status Endangered
Diet Omnivore
Habitat
Fame
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Description

  • The chimpanzee is an ape of equatorial Africa that, physically and genetically, is the animal most closely related to humans. Two species of chimpanzee, or chimp, exist: the common chimpanzee and the bonobo, also known as the pygmy chimpanzee. The common chimp is found in dense jungle and more open wooded savannah from Sierra Leone and Guinea on the Atlantic Ocean to the lakes Tanganyika and Victoria in east central Africa. The bonobo is found only in a small region of thick jungle in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC, formerly Zaire) in central Africa. Both species of chimpanzee are listed as endangered species in the wild by the World Conservation Union (also known as IUCN).
  • Chimpanzees, Pan troglodytes, are known as intelligent communicators and problem solvers. They prepare and use a wide variety of tools such as long, peeled digging sticks, grass stems, sponges (made of bark or leaves, chewed until soft), and rags (of leaves). They may use these tools for enlarging the holes of insect dens, pulling termites or ants out of their nest mounds, or smashing the harder-shelled of the 20 kinds of fruit they often eat in a day. Males also use sticks and rocks in their charging displays. Chimpanzees differ from human beings by only 1 percent of their genetic material, making them our closest relative.
  • The highly intelligent and gregarious chimpanzee lives in the tropical rain forests of equatorial Africa. Although these primates spend much of their time in trees-where they forage for fruits, nuts, and leaves-they are also active on the ground. In their research, Jane Goodall and other scientists have discovered that chimpanzees use a complex system of communication and maintain an elaborate, hierarchical social structure. Like other apes, chimpanzees are in peril because of the ongoing destruction of tropical rain forests.

Fun Facts

  • Chimpanzees do not swim.
  • Chimpanzees strip sticks and poke them into termite mounds to catch insects for food.
  • Chimpanzees usually travel on all fours on the ground, but they also swing from tree to tree.
  • The brain of a chimpanzee is about half the size of the human brain.

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