Chimpanzees are natives to the content of Africa. They are great apes and not monkeys. Examples of great apes are bonobos, chimpanzees, orangutans, and gorillas. An example of a chimpanzee that lives today is Bubbles. Bubbles were known for being pet owned by the late Michael Jackson where he bought the primate from a research facility in Texas in the early 1980s. Bubbles were a travel companion to the singer and he once taken to Japan by Jackson here they had tea with the mayor of Osaka.
Chimpanzees are currently an endangered species. Many chimpanzees used to live in equatorial Africa from Central Africa Southern Senegal to Western Tanzania (Goodall, 120). This area can be estimated to almost the size of the United States. Recent census of the species in the Ivory Coast shows that the population of chimpanzees in the location had gone down by 90 percent in the past 20 years. This can be attributed to the cutting down of rainforests in Africa leaving patches hence destroying their home.
The community of chimpanzees ranges from 15 to 120 chimps of different ages and sexes. They lived in a society that can be coined as “fission-fusion society.” This is a society where all community members know each other but travel, feed and sleep in smaller groups of six chimpanzees nor less (Goodall, 198). These smaller groups are not consistent as members change when different parties intermingle, meet, and disperse in different combinations. Sometimes, the community members form large gatherings where at least half the community meet-up. These are social events, and group members get a chance to breed, groom, and play.
Chimpanzees have a hierarchy structure where there is an alpha male in each community. The alpha male is considered the most powerful member of the group. The success of the alpha male is usually dependent on the support of females. These hierarchies are complex, flexible, and fluid and change often, but are not strict. Chimpanzees are territorial, and community males patrol their territorial boundaries so that other communities do not cross their territory.
Chimpanzees co-exist in multi-female, multi-male communities. The females mate with multiple males. The males treat all offspring as their own because they cannot know for sure if they are their own. The female chimpanzees’ bottoms turn bright pink to signal the males that they are fertile. Usually, a female chimpanzee has its first child when it is 14 years of old. Their gestation period is similar to that of humans, 9 months. Infants are dependent on their mothers for the first 5 years. At the age of six, the child can usually live independently though they can still live with their mothers into adulthood. Chimpanzees are considered adults when they are 15 years of age. Chimpanzees give birth every 5 years after their child is fully weaned. In their lifetime, a female chimpanzee may have approximately 4 to 6 children (Goodall, 167).
Chimpanzees rely heavily on a variety of leaves and fruits. They also eat bark, nuts, eggs, and insects. They even hunt small animals and monkeys for meat; hence, they are omnivores. They spent most of their day eating or looked for food. They remember where they can find food at different times of the year or when a specific fruit is ripe. When hunting, chimpanzees work together and share their kill. Chimpanzees also eat certain plants for medicinal value.
The reduction in the number of chimpanzees can be blamed on disease, hunting for bush meat and the loss of their habitat. Many approaches are being taken to conserve the remaining chimpanzee population (Goodall, 54). This is being done by stopping the illegal killing of chimpanzees. In addition, chimpanzee focused eco-tourism has been developed to protect them. Another step that has been taken is managing, establishing, and strengthening protected areas to keep the chimpanzees safe.
Chimpanzees have opposable thumbs and big toes that they use to hold things and climb branches. They also have sharp canines to catch and eat their prey and scare off others. They also have long and strong arms to climb and swing through trees. They also create nests at night with branches and leaves. They are social creatures for their protection and adaptability.
Chimpanzees are closely related to humans. Chimpanzees and humans share 95 to 98 percent of the same DNA. The species can be used to explain human behavior as they have many similar characteristics. Chimpanzees can learn new things just like humans. They can make tools using stones and sticks similarly to early operate (Diamond, 89). An example is Washoe, a chimpanzee who could talk using American sign language. They can also use facial expressions to show their expressions just like humans. Chimpanzees’ have emotions similar to those of humans. These include anger, joy, grief, pleasure sorrow, depression, and boredom. Their body temperature and set of teeth are similar to those of humans too. Chimpanzees are also omnivores, which is similar to the case of humans.
The human-chimpanzee last common ancestor is a species from which the bonobo and chimpanzee lineage and the hominin lineage diverged. Hominoid tree split into chimpanzee, the bonobo line, and the human branch of homins (Diamond, 54). The human-chimpanzee last common ancestor must have had the body and brain similar to that of an ape. Their canines were probably sharp and large as in many Miocene hominoids. Males probably had larger canines. They must have also walked in all fours like the living apes. The oldest homins were located in Kenya and Chad between 6 and 7 million years ago.
Diamond Jared. The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal (P.S.).Harper Perennial; Trade Paperback Edition edition .2006. Print.
Goodall Jane. My Life with the Chimpanzees. Aladdin; Revised edition. 1996. Print.