African forests, though, considered as the most dangerous forests in the world, prove a natural habitat to the wide range of animals and venomous snakes living there. One of the most interesting species living in the African rain-forests mainly are the Chimpanzees which are of great interest to human beings as they share a common ancestral family, “Hominidae” with human beings. Chimpanzees are named in the scientific world as Pan Troglodytes where troglodyte means cave-living which isn’t exactly true, but since chimpanzees were known as the primitive humans, they were named so. On an average, the male chimpanzee weighs 40-60 kg whereas a female chimpanzee weighs 32-47 kg and both have an average height of 4 ft. They have an average life span of 50 years. Female chimpanzees have a gestation period of about 8 months. Mothers share a close relation with their babies and take good care of them till they get fully matured.
We all know about the theory of evolution and as discussed earlier chimpanzees and human beings share a common ancestor according to the theory of evolution. Research on the DNA has led to the fact that chimpanzees has 95-98% similar DNA as human beings. Not only DNA, but chimpanzees share emotional as well as behavioral similarities, which would be discussed further, led to the success of the evolution theory.
Chimpanzees live in small communities where one male is considered as the most powerful member known as the alpha male of the community. Chimpanzees are one of the most creative animals being found. One of the interesting fact about them is just like human beings, they make variety of tools out of the branches of trees and various stones for their purpose. Also, every night they build their nest on a tree from its leaves and branches. They never sleep in the same nest twice. It’s also interesting to know that chimpanzees conduct gatherings in their community which are held for feeding, playing and grooming purpose. Grooming fulfills the purpose of cementing the bonds between their family and friends. They have their own distinct way of communication mainly by hand gestures and facial expressions.
In a research being held on two chimpanzees, their emotions quite similar to human beings were depicted. One chimpanzee was given a task daily and only after the completion of the task, he was given food. On the other hand, the second chimpanzee was given food without any prior task. When the first chimp noticed this, naturally, his efficiency of doing the task was reduced. I would also like to bring in notice about a Disney movie “Chimpanzee” directed by Mark Linfield which was released on April 20 ,2012 (US release Date) and is based on the real life incidence which took place in the African rain-forests. The movie depicts the love between a lonely orphan baby chimpanzee, Oscar and a tough alpha male, Freddy of the chimp colony. Freddy and Oscar developed a father-son relationship and shared their loneliness. Baby chimpanzees share an intimate relation with their mothers but it is quite unusual for an alpha male taking care of an orphan baby chimp.
Now, adding to the topic let us not forget about illegal poaching of chimpanzees. The most prominent threat to chimpanzees is habitat destruction, hunting them for their bushmeat and diseases. Recently, a large number of Chimpanzees were died due to the ebola disease in Africa. Also, nearly 90% of the chimp population has been extinct in the last twenty years due to their habitat destruction. And it’s a shame for us that chimpanzees are now endangered specie with only 170,000-300,000 chimpanzees left in Africa. So illegal poaching of wildlife need to be given special attention to protect our wildlife and hence, to protect the natural cycle being disturbed.