Chimpanzee, often abbreviated to chimp, is the common name for two species in the genus Pan. The better known chimpanzee is Pan troglodytes, the Common Chimpanzee, living in West and Central Africa. more...
Its cousin, the Bonobo or Pygmy Chimpanzee (Pan paniscus), is found in the forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The boundary between the two species is formed by the Congo River.
Chimpanzees rarely live past the age of 50 in the wild, but have been known to reach the age of 60 in captivity.
Anatomical differences between Common and Pygmy Chimpanzees are slight, but in sexual and social behaviour there are marked differences. Common Chimpanzees have an omnivorous diet, a troop hunting culture based on beta males led by a relatively weak alpha, and highly complex social relationships; Bonobos, on the other hand, have a mostly herbivorous diet and an egalitarian, matriarchal, sexually promiscuous culture. Chimpanzee's have pinkish faces and Bonobos have darker faces. Bonobos have longer arms and tend to walk upright most of the time.
History of human interaction
Although Africans have had contact with chimpanzees for millennia, the first recorded (Western) contact of humans with chimps was made by Europeans scouting Angola at some point during the 1600s. The first use of the name "chimpanzee", however, did not occur until 1738. The name is derived from an Angolan Bantu language term "Tshiluba kivili-chimpenze", which is the local name for the animal and translates loosely as "mockman" or possibly just "ape". The colloquialism "chimp" was most likely coined some time in the late 1870s. Science would eventually take the 'pan' occurring in 'chimpanzee' and attribute it to Pan, a rural ancient Greek god of nature. Biologists would apply Pan as the genus name of the animal. Chimps as well as other apes had also been purported to have existed in ancient times, but did so mainly as myths and legends on the edge of Euro-Arabic societal consciousness, mainly through fragmented and sketchy accounts of European adventurers. Apes are mentioned variously by Aristotle, as well as the Bible.
European scientists were bemused when chimpanzees first began arriving on the European continent as a result of these ancient descriptions, which often falsely purported that chimpanzees had horns and hooves. The first of these early trans-continental chimpanzees came from Angola and was presented as a gift to the Prince of Orange in 1640 and was followed by a few of its brethren over the next several years. Scientists who examined these rare specimens were baffled and described these first chimpanzees as "pygmies" of some kind or another, but did manage to note the animals' distinct similarities to humans. The next two decades would see a number of the creatures imported into Europe, mainly acquired by various zoological gardens as entertainment for visitors.
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