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Scientific Name: Pan troglodytes
When you think about the Common Chimpanzee you already have a great vision in your mind. Most people adore them due to the way in which they look. Their bodies are covered with long hairs and then have terrific faces. They have delicate features that are very common in the world of great apes. This includes a large jaw, enormous lips, and a ridge that is prominent along the eyebrows.
They have teeth that are sharp in the front as well as rows of flat molars in the back. They use the incisors to remove food and to fight. They use the molars to grind other types of food that they consume. They don’t have tails like monkeys and they have very long bodies.
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The long and thin body of the Common Chimpanzee gives it freedoms that the Gorilla doesn’t have. For example it can live in the trees and it can swing around from one to the next without touching the ground. The combination of opposable thumbs and big toes with strong shoulders allow this to happen.
Many assume that the Common Chimpanzee can’t walk upright. This is because on land they are frequently seen walking on their knuckles. They can move fast this way and not use up very much energy in the process. However, when they are in an upright position the can expend lots of energy and they aren’t able to move very quickly.
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The Common Chimpanzee hasn’t always been this way though. Until 1 million years ago there was only one species. Then they separated from the Bonobo species. 20 million years ago all of the great apes were the same. The fact that these animals have DNA that is so close to our own definitely indicates some type of common ancestor that we haven’t uncovered yet.
Common Chimpanzee Quick Facts
Aggression is a familiar observation in the troops of Common Chimpanzees. The males are the most aggressive as they fight for a better ranking in the social hierarchy. The females aren’t nearly as aggressive but they will ignore the other females that they don’t like very much. They will also fight to the death to protect their young.
They are known to engage in various communications – both verbally and non verbally. They use facial expressions and their posture to show rank and confidence. They can often be seeing acting playfully and even heard laughing. They are quite comical at times and that is part of the attraction that humans have to them.
Within the troop there are complex sub groups and that helps the socialization to continue on many levels. The socialization is part of the overall growth and development of the members from a very early age. With some members they form extremely close bonds and others are merely casual acquaintances.
They are highly intelligent animals and that is obvious with their behaviors. They can complete tasks that other animals can’t. By carefully observing their environment they find items they can make tools out of. They are very adaptable and they have amazing memories.
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Habitat and Distribution
The Common Chimpanzee is able to thrive in various habitats. This includes the rainforest, the woodlands, the savannahs, and the mountain regions. The fact that they can live in so many locations is why they are scattered all over Africa. More than 20 countries are known to have them living in the wild.
How many of them are there? We don’t really know due to the diverse locations of them. Some say there are close to 200,000 of them in the wild. Others believe that there are only about half that many out there. Only time will tell as we try to get better tools that we can use to accurately count them.
The land where the Common Chimpanzee lives is continually interrupted by human efforts. They see these areas as prime locations for planting food, for mining, and for forestry to be a profitable business to get involved with. The loss of habitat is the biggest threat to the future for these animals.
Diet and Feeding habits
Each Common Chimpanzee can consume different amounts of food. Some have very small appetites and others eat much more. It is the same way when it comes to the eating habits of humans. When food is scarce the more dominant members of the troop will get to eat first. That is why some of the others may leave it to form their own group if they are going to survive.
There are plenty of types of plants and fruits that these animals live on. They also consume insects that they get from each others hair. They will spend many hours grooming each other. This is a way to eat as well as a way to bond with each other.
They are also meat eaters but in order to hunt they need an effort that involves many members. They also use rocks and sticks that they have sharpened to do the work. The meat that they find is usually considered to be a delicacy that only the highest ranking members get to have.
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The Common Chimpanzee is about 10 years of age when it is ready to mate. The males are very aggressive as they want to be able to mate with as many females as they can. The older and larger males are the ones that they females will give their consent to though. They use various sounds to communicate that they want to mate. They immediately go their separate ways once it is finished.
The females only have a baby once every five or six years. This gives them plenty of time to focus their attention on the one they have. Even when they have a new baby though they continue to care for the older ones. It is an amazing show of affection from the mothers to these young. Not only do they get their basic needs met but they are often held and cuddled.
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Life isn’t always easy in the wild for the Common Chimpanzee though. They have some predators to worry about. Even though they have sharp teeth they don’t have too much to offer in the way of defense. They often are invaded in the trees by dangerous snakes. They love to consume large prey and the Common Chimpanzee is often what they are after out there.
Both in the trees and on land the leopard is a careful hunter. They are out at night too which is when the Common Chimpanzee is resting. The element of surprise with the attack gives the powerful leopard the advantage every single time.
Humans have created a huge challenge for the survival of the Common Chimpanzee. Their efforts often result in destruction of the habitat for these animals. Humans often hunt them too for the fun of it or to get them out of places they want for themselves.
Hunting of the Common Chimpanzee offers meat to the people of Africa. Many of the villages are extremely poor and have few resources. Selling the young to those that want to have an exotic pet is common too. In order to get the young though the mothers have to be killed.