Chimpanzees are primate animals, just like us humans.
Chimpanzees are sometimes referred to as “evolutionary neighbors” because they come from the same ancestors as us and are the closest to humans.
Chimpanzees are very smart and are known to use tools and mimic the actions of humans and their peers.
However, if you think about its ecology and what its characteristics are, you may be surprised to find that there are many things you don’t know.
In this article, we’ll take a peek into the world of chimpanzees to see what their characteristics and secrets are!
～ Basic information. ～
Male length:77～92cm weight:34～70kg（average:48.9kg）
Female length:70～85cm weight:26～50kg（average:40.6kg）
※When standing up, the body length is about 140-150cm.
Chimpanzees live in swarms of dozens, including multiple males and females, in forests and savannahs in western and central Africa.It is a diurnal animal that is active during the day, and at night it makes a bed of twigs and leaves on a tree and rests there.
Chimpanzees do not have a fixed breeding season and can breed all year round.Chimpanzees have an average gestation period of 230 days and usually give birth to one baby at a time.
It is basically the mother who takes care of the newborn baby, and the father does not participate in the care.Babies are carefully raised for three to four years after birth, and in the case of males, they spend the rest of their lives in the group they were born in, while in the case of females, when they reach sexual maturity, they leave the group they were born in and move to another group.
Incidentally, female chimpanzees are able to conceive around the age of 8, and often give birth for the first time when they are 10-11 years old.
Males, on the other hand, begin mating at the age of two, but their minds and bodies do not reach adulthood until around the age of 15, and wild chimpanzees are often three to four years later than this.
Chimpanzees are omnivorous animals, but their staple food is ripe fruit, regardless of their habitat.
When there is not enough fruit, they eat a variety of plants (seeds, leaves, flowers, bark, etc.) And animals (insects, small monkeys, wild boars, birds, eggs, etc.).
However, they have a strong preference for plant matter, and it is said that animal matter eats only about 5% of all food.
Is it true that chimpanzees are very smart?
Chimpanzees are very smart and are known to be good at using tools and imitating humans and their peers.
Chimpanzees have a culture of “using tools” that is not seen in other animals, such as sticking tree branches into ant mounds to catch and eat termites, or using stones to split oil palm seeds to eat them.
This kind of culture seems to be acquired and inherited by children observing their parents and herd members using the tools, and by children practicing them over and over again.
Incidentally, since a high level of intelligence is required to master tools, the number of animals that can use tools is limited to humans and some other animals such as chimpanzees, orangutans, gorillas, and crows.
The cleverness of chimpanzees can also be seen in the fact that there have been many news reports around the world of chimpanzees escaping from zoos and facilities specializing in primates.
Chimpanzees seem to dexterously escape by watching humans handle doors and keys to understand how they work, or by using routes that were thought to be impossible to escape.
Is it true that chimpanzees are close to humans?
It’s true.Chimpanzees are animals that are classified as “hominidae” like us humans.
There are only four species of animals in the hominidae humans, chimpanzees, bonobos, and gorillas. In particular, humans and chimpanzees are genetically very close, and their DNA is said to be 98.8% Identical.
In other words, from the perspective of DNA, the difference between humans and chimpanzees is only 1.2%.
Incidentally, humans and chimpanzees were originally the same animal, but it is thought that they were divided into different animals about 5 million years ago.
What are the differences between chimpanzees and humans?
Chimpanzees and humans are very close creatures, but what exactly are the differences?
The first difference is the appearance.
Chimpanzees have black hair all over their bodies except for their faces and limbs, while humans have almost no hair.Hair has the advantage of protecting the skin from dryness, UV rays, and cold.
However, it is less susceptible to heat because it makes it harder for heat to escape. It also has the disadvantage of being more prone to parasites such as fleas and lice.
The reason why human body hair has almost disappeared is not clearly known, but it is thought that there may be reasons such as to prevent excessive body temperature rise or to protect oneself from parasites.
The second difference is the way you walk.
Humans basically walk on two legs, but chimpanzees basically walk on four legs, using their arms and legs.
Chimpanzees also sometimes walk on two legs when males want to make themselves look bigger and stronger, or when they want to hold things or use tools, but they rarely walk on two legs for long periods of time.
Incidentally, chimpanzees sometimes walk with their fists on the ground in a unique way called the “knuckle walk.
The third difference is the mind and way of thinking.
Human beings may help people who are in trouble when they see them in front of them even if they have no benefit to them, but chimpanzees are basically said to not get involved in things that do not benefit them.
※Basically, chimpanzees do not actively help, but may reach out to others when they ask for help.
There are many similarities and differences between humans and chimpanzees, but perhaps the biggest difference is the “mind” and “way of thinking”.
Why don’t chimpanzees have tails?
Many primates have long tails, but humans, called apes, and chimpanzees, bonobos, and gorillas do not.
※Apes are medium to large primates with human-like characteristics.
So why don’t apes have tails?
Animal tails have many roles, but in primates, they often help to maintain balance when moving quickly or in unstable places.
Apes have larger bodies and brains than other primates, and tend to move while thinking about things rather than just moving quickly.As a result, there is less need for tails, and it is thought that they may have degenerated before long.
Is it true that chimpanzees are surprisingly violent?
Chimpanzees look calm and expressive, but they are surprisingly violent, and there have been cases where chimpanzees that were kept as pets have attacked people.
Males of sexually mature chimpanzees in particular are known to become rabid, and accidents involving chimpanzees have occurred in Africa, their main habitat.
By the way, there is a rank in the chimpanzee herd, and it is thought that the stronger male has the right to mate with many females in the higher rank.
This battle for rankings is fierce and can sometimes be life-threatening.
In addition, it is not uncommon for them to kill each other when they meet other herds, and there have been sightings of “cannibalism” in which they eat the chimpanzees they have killed.
Is it true that chimpanzees have a strong grip?
It’s true.The grip strength of a male chimpanzee is thought to be a whopping 300 kg.
Let’s compare how amazing these numbers are to human grip strength.
In Japanese people, men between the ages of 35 and 39 are said to have the strongest grip, but even so, the average grip strength is said to be about 47.64 Kg. If you actually compare the numbers, you can see that chimpanzees have a very strong grip.
As a side note, have you ever seen a martial arts athlete crush an apple with his grip strength on TV?Since apples are very hard, it is said that 70-80 kg of grip strength is required to crush them with grip strength.
People who can crush apples with their grip are very strong as human beings, but compared to chimpanzees, they may not be as powerful.
What do zoo chimpanzees eat?
Chimpanzees living in zoos eat a variety of foods, including vegetables (cabbage, carrots, sweet potatoes, komatsuna, celery, etc), fruits (apples, strawberries, bananas, oranges, grapes, etc), animal products (boiled eggs, dried fish, milk, yogurt, etc), And bread.
It is said that wild chimpanzees eat more than 20 kinds of plants a day and more than 300 kinds of plants a year, so zoos often give them a variety of fruits and vegetables every season to make their diet as close as possible to that of wild chimpanzees.
It is also known that wild chimpanzees spend a huge amount of time eating, looking for fruit for more than four hours a day.
But at the zoo, you don’t have to look for food. Therefore, when you finish eating the food you are given, you will have more free time, which can be a source of stress.
For this reason, zoos hide food here and there, or dare to feed it in containers (feeders) that are difficult to remove, so that people can take their time to eat.
How long do chimpanzees live?
Chimpanzees have a very long life span, which is thought to be 40 to 60 years.
Incidentally, in zoos in Japan, the oldest known chimpanzee is the male “Johnny,” who was bred at the Kobe Municipal Oji Zoo in Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture until 2019. Due to senility, he died at an estimated age of 69.
By the way, there are chimpanzees in the U.S. Who lived to be 80 years old.
Can chimpanzees be kept as pets?
Some of you may have seen chimpanzees in zoos or on TV programs and wanted to keep them as pets. So can chimpanzees actually be kept as pets?
On a slightly more difficult note, chimpanzees are classified as “endangered” on the Red List and as “Annex I “under the Washington Convention.
Animals classified into these two categories are protected worldwide, and trade between countries is strictly restricted, and trade is not allowed unless there is a special purpose such as research.Therefore, it is essentially impossible to sell or buy chimpanzees in order to keep them as pets.
However, there is no end to the number of people who want to keep a very smart and cute chimpanzee and go around the law and buy a baby chimpanzee by poaching it.
Chimpanzees are animals that live in packs. And the adults in it work together to protect the baby.In other words, when you catch only the baby from the herd, you have to kill the adult chimpanzee who stands up to you trying to protect the baby.
According to one theory, 10 adult chimpanzees were killed in order to catch one baby chimpanzee.We humans should seriously consider whether we need to go that far to catch chimpanzees or keep them as pets.
What enemies do chimpanzees have?
The natural enemies of wild chimpanzees are carnivores such as leopards and lions.However, considering the personality of chimpanzees, chimpanzees may be enemies to each other in a sense.
However, the biggest natural enemy of chimpanzees is us humans.
We have caught many chimpanzees to keep as pets and to eat, and we have reduced their habitat by developing forests and savannahs.
In addition, since infectious diseases such as Ebola have spread from people to chimpanzees, the number of chimpanzees is still decreasing. It is feared that chimpanzees will become extinct in the near future if this trend continues.
By the way, the meat of wild animals such as chimpanzees is called “bush meat” and is a valuable source of protein for the people who live there.
However, wild animals can have bacteria and viruses that can infect humans, so bushmeat is said to be a possible cause of various diseases.
Type of chimpanzee.
伊谷 純一郎（1986年）『動物大百科 霊長類』平凡社