Dec. 2, 2022


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This podcast episode we talk about the Chimpanzee! Relax, unwind, and join me in the tropical forests of the Congo, where we learn all about a creature capable of using sign language and making weapons.


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hello everyone welcome back to relax with animal facts I am staff Wolff and today I am going to be learning with you about our furry scaly or possibly even slimy friends and in today's case it is definitely going to be a ferry or Hary friend of ours because we are covering the %HESITATION soul wonderful chimpanzee this of course is a very special listener episode dedicated to Annalisa and to Rebecca your suggestion is what made this episode possible and so I hope you enjoy it to find out how to request and get your very own episode along with the resources used in this one all of that information will be at the end of today's episode and it will also be in the show notes or the description down below if you love the show and want more exclusive episodes while supporting relax with animal facts you can do so by visiting the patriarch and becoming a patron all of those relevant links are down below as well and now let the store to slow down a little bit as we are going into today's episode there are two things that I ask of you the first thing I ask is that you have your shoes on with your shoe laces tired and maybe even the more important thing is that you try your best to imitate Jello in our day to day life we can carry a lot of tension in different spots it could be in our head door in our shoulders but regardless of where it is my exhortation to you is exactly the same we do not need all of that tension where we are going to do your best to imbibe Joe Lowe relax and allow your mind to wander and journey with me into the tropical forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo where we will be face to face with the chimpanzee for those of you long term listeners of the show I bet you are as surprised as me to find out that we haven't covered the chimpanzee yet over one hundred episodes and I have yet to cover one of the most popular primate species available and so let's call it a pleasant surprise because we get to learn about them today the chimpanzee is a species of ape of course they inhabit tropical forests as well as savannas of equatorial Africa ranging all the way from Senegal in the west to lake Albert in northwestern Tanzania in the E. Ste so they do have a decent distribution though it is centralized in Africa itself their scientific name is an interesting one it is pan troglodytes though this pronunciation in Latin or Greek would be something closer to trial glued to pass the word troglodyte generally describes a cave dweller and that started in the fifteen fifties and was imported from French which was imported from Latin previously from Greek and that old Greek term was used to describe any sort of cave dweller we're sometimes even describing cave men for example are relatives who is sort of the Greek father of history he used this word when describing certain tribes that were living on the African coast of the Red Sea it can be literally translated into something like one who creeps into holes and the first part of the scientific name of the chimpanzee is Han which is just a prefix that usually describes all through the scientific name would seem to suggest something directly translated as all cave dwellers were all cave men now I am actually unsure whether this name has more to do with an actual behavioral pattern of being in caves frequently if it is because the chimpanzee bears some strikingly similar features to people my guess would be more of the latter but I'm not entirely sure so individuals in the chimpanzee species will vary considerably in their appearance and in their size if they were to stand up tall and upright they would stand between three to five and a half feet tall and weighs something like seventy two hundred and thirty pounds which is thirty two to sixty kilograms for those that prefer that measurement this is a species in which the males and females will have enough distinction to usually draw a conclusion as to what you are looking at in the species the males do tend to be larger and more robust than females something that is quite common among primate species as a whole the chimpanzee is covered in a coat of brown or black hair but their faces are bare except for a little white beard that often forms now we have covered many different apes so far so you may have the question of what is the difference say between one that we've covered already let's say the but noble and the chimpanzee no chips and the nobles of course we're going to share a lot more physical resemblance than say guerrillas and dolphins but be assured that they are certainly different species each species of primate is so different in terms of their mannerisms sometimes even in their social structures their physical appearance their strength their weight distribution their center of gravity and this distinction can be seen in chimps and bonobos so both of these creatures are found in sub Saharan Africa by today or geographically separated by the Congo River the chimpanzee is distributed across equatorial Africa within the Congo River region and %HESITATION found specifically north of this river in which they are split into four different and distinct subspecies the bill noble is geographically restricted to the Democratic Republic of Congo in this case they live of course south of the Congo River and they have not split into any kind of subspecies at least that we can recognize there are some unique differences in their social structure though their differences are most striking in their geographical distribution now one of the things that make the chimpanzee surgery point of interest is because of how close they are to human beings from a physical standpoint they have opposable thumbs they have skin that looks quite akin to our own and we can of course see that the chimpanzee looks quite a lot more like us than something like an ostrich well as human beings we share somewhere between ninety six to ninety eight point seven percent of our genetic blueprint with the chimpanzee let us just for a moment to talk about what it exactly this means because as human beings our genetics are also ninety percent related to domestic house cats and fifty percent somewhere around fifty percent related to bananas so what exactly are we referring to when we say these sorts of things now of course this might seem quite complex but when put in simpler terms can really help us to understand how this works the first distinction for us to draw is the difference between DNA and protein products one simple way that this article helps to explain this is for us to think of DNA as something like a blueprint of the house and to the protein products as the actual house in which all the information is actually stored through the DNA is the blueprint and the protein products aren't the actual house so if we take for example human DNA as a blueprint that might be a town house and then we might take but man at DNA which might be more of a colonial style home now both of these are houses but they are going to have some significant differences between one another even though the share some general similarities in the actual blueprint these differences aren't the protein products so between humans and bananas we are about fifty percent of the same and so there might be some similar plumbing bathrooms kitchen but of course they are both still houses and that is how everything works when it comes to biological life every bit of life has not only its own blooper and but has its own singular libraries from which everything is built and so when we compare any life to another this is exactly what we are comparing whether we are talking about bananas or we are talking about house cats or chimpanzees the second bit of crucial information is that the genes which make up the regions of the DNA that actually code for these specific proteins only make up about two percent of our actual DNA and it is from that two percent of our DNA that we are making our comparisons so this is why we can say our genes are fifty percent related to a banana while still maintaining a ninety six to ninety eight point eight percent commonality with chimpanzees now why is it that we can be so genetically similar with chimpanzees but yet look so different and the answer lies in how much can change in just a small percentage so in a difference of genetic code of one point two to four percent on the higher end much can change each of our human cells contain about three billion base pairs and when we are speaking about one point two percent or about four percent on the higher end that is a minimum of thirty five million differences in those base pairs now not all of those differences are going to have any significant impact but of course thirty five million differences can really cause a stark difference but this is something related to our philosophy of life that ought to have our shows for Emily placed on to the ground the complex libraries that are hidden underneath the smallest cell if there would be anything to stress to a serious sense of all the most mundane or the most ordinary bits of life placed under a microscope will reveal as we have learned not to trust blue prints ready to code but libraries of blueprints storehouses of information jam packed with life and complexity if there be anything that would store us to wonder of the natural world this is it for those of you that are younger and looking forward to studies in biology or any other scientific field I only say that I am something like secondhand excited for you the wonders of the natural world or one of the reasons I love doing this podcast it is one of the reasons the chimpanzee is such an amazing creature so now that we have covered maybe one of the poor complex bits of the show let's go back to some grounded the facts about our hairy friend sue the chimpanzee is located in about twenty one different African countries and we are walking around in the rain forest today because the largest concentration of chimps are found in the rain forested areas as they like us need access to some sort of a water supply into the also absolutely love their fruits they are highly social creatures living in communities of several dozen different animals led by a single alpha male in his coalition of male allies something that is quite Coleman in the primate world this sort of dominance hierarchy that is established first and foremost buy a single top male normally referred to as an alpha male and this alpha male is going to have access to all of the females to continue his offspring research has shown that male and female chimps have individual personalities which of course to be is no surprise we have seen so much personality even in the most ordinary insects but research showed that the female chimps had a greater propensity towards trust and timid miss they were more shy and more trusting than their male counterparts one very important part of their social life is grooming and they groom one another helping establish very strong bonds while also providing a hygienic function of removing ticks and dirt from one another's bodies the champ shares the locomotion of the guerrilla here as both of them do this knuckle walking movement one advantage of walking on their knuckles as opposed to on their palms is that they can carry small objects as they are walking around and speaking of using their hands one of the things that makes the chimp so amazing is their use of tools Jane Goodall a famous primatologist observed in the nineteen sixties that the chimpanzee had the ability to use tools and they often did they would use things like sticks to retrieve insects from their nests or even to take grubs out of logs they would use stones to smash tasty nuts and even use leaves as something like sponges to soak of their drinking water they also have the ability to use their hands as tools of communication in the form of sign language the upper limits of their communication ability with sign language is something like three hundred or so signs which is an absolutely amazing feat and of course we have covered on this show a lot of creatures that use tools we have covered the crow for example which uses things like sticks and waits to get their food going so far as to show their little understanding of water displacement to gain their snacks and so the chimpanzee joins the greats of the crows and ravens and other tool using creatures and standing out above the rest for their unique sense of intelligence and spatial awareness chimpanzees living in the savannas of Senegal have been seen to use weapons now it is possible that this behavior was driven by some kind of need because there is considerably less food available in this area habitat than some of their other friends in other parts of Africa they have learned to make and use sharp sticks they snap off the branches remove the leaves and then sharpen the ends using their teeth the hunter will then climb towards the hole and thrust this sharp spear that it has made with its teeth into the cavity the females of this chimpanzee group would hunt with spears more often than males and would use these tools to hunt but often not to chase down their prey now this is simply another form of tool usage just like a chrome Mike uses stick to reach in and pull their food L. or roll their little piece of meat out the chimp is using this spear as a way of securing their dinner but in the process affected Lee making a weapon from a biological perspective this is an amazing phenomena the physical prowess of the chimp makes it so that if they do not need weapons to catch their prey they are indeed enormously strong estimated to be about four times stronger than a human being of a similar size they can reach speeds of twenty five miles per hour or about forty kilometers an hour when running and that is simply not even the world they are made for and so they can reach amazing speeds when swinging from trees using physics and their amazing momentum they can travel through trees faster than we can travel on our feet many a time and so what this allows them to do is to evade predation but also to be very ferocious predators themselves chimpanzees are omnivorous meaning that they are very happy to eat pretty much anything they will typically tend to eat more fruit than any other food groups and they will even supplement with seeds leaves insects honey and even routes but they will sometimes hunt other wildlife including other monkeys or small antelope for meat eating in the chimpanzee world is mostly a solitary or individual activity but hunting on the other hand will often times show the team work with which some of these chimpanzees will work there are certain groups of chimpanzees in the jungle whether it be from sheer need or not form something like a hunting squad and hunt other kinds of monkeys the very high intelligence of the chimpanzee makes it's not only a formidable physical predator but combined with its use of team work its use of strategy and even planning along with the ability to make weapons is something that makes beyond a formidable predator know their use of team work in the hunting is not all that surprising considering how complex and intertwined their family and social structures are these extended family groups can grow as large as a hundred and twenty individuals usually forming at a minimum of twenty individuals and they will spend the majority of their time in these small temporary groups or they can also be known as parties or communities and these communities and individuals will defended their home ranges often times very very seriously if it calls for it female chimpanzees will often give birth just once every five years just like us they will typically carry only one child at a time and the children will be reserved for a relatively long time at least if we compare it to some of the other species we have learned about in the case of the champ the child is going to clinging to its mother's furs and ride on her back until the ages of three to five this results in a close familial bond that will continue on past the ages of maturity and fortunately the chimpanzee can live a very long time indeed they can live up to their eighties the oldest recorded chimpanzee it was one that was named little mama a captive female chimp that was between the ages of seventy six to eighty two years old when she died in twenty seventeen the average lifespan for captive chimps or somewhere around thirty eighty years while wild chimps normally have an expectancy of thirty three years as is often the case the amount of life that they have in the wild verses in captivity is slightly shorter because in captivity they have complete access to food without predation or competition protection from diseases at cetera now chimps can communicate in a lot of different ways so far there are a recorded thirty different vocalizations or around thirty the most common of them is a hand hoot which is a long distance call that is used for a variety of different things such as different social reasons as well as simply keeping in touch with fellow members of the troupe chimps are very vocal and very communicative though it is probably pretty rare for somebody to hear the full range of thirty something odd sounds that they can make one cool fact is that around the village of bosu in the Central African country of Guinea the chimpanzees that are local to the area have been observed feeding on cattle pods from human cultivated plants after eating this sweet poll that they are after they will spit out the seeds or sometimes swallow them whole but they come out one way or the other and so these champs will oftentimes creates new cook how plants without even knowing it the chimps don't create a whole new plantations on their own but they're unintentional seeds dispersal enables farmers to get a larger or harvest a larger crop than they would have if the chips did not do this practice so you have this alliance with Kakao farmers so the chimpanzees they're in Guinea have an interesting deal struck up or alliance with cocoa farmers and now let us go to the name chimpanzee what does it mean or where does it come from in today's case this is sort of an unimpressive etymology at least to some of the ones that we have done in the past the word chimpanzee simply describes a large type of west African ape it was coined in seventeen thirty eight and came from a Bantu language of Angola it is clear but it is short but we can be grateful that we have a very clear at him a logical trace so we don't have to shrug our shoulders here and now let's move on to the review portion of the show this review was written by bongo the turtle puppet who wrote all the way from the United States of America and the bongo writes this podcast has been the best even from the start it went from long and kinda choppy but now it is my favorite podcast I can't wait till the next one also if it hasn't been done can you do the Wall feel thank you so much bongo for leaving your review and for the great animal suggestion of the wolf you'll I am very grateful that you think the podcast was the best even from the start even though it started kinda long and kind of choppy which you are not at all wrong about I have certainly learned a lot and have changed the show a lot to make it as enjoyable to all of you as possible and it is because of reviews like this that those changes happen and if the show gets better if you want to leave a review like bongo did it is one of the biggest ways you can give back to the show you can tell me what you like about it so it doesn't change you can tell me what you don't like about it so that it can possibly change and you can always leave your animal suggestion in the review as bongo did if you would like your very own podcast episode you can request your animal by sending a message to relax with the animal facts on Instagram going to relax with animal facts dot com and clicking on the animal request tab or by sending an email to relax with animal facts at G. mail dot com I suppose there is now even a fourth way of leaving it in your review but this seems to be pretty novel I look forward to all of your wonderful suggestions and of learning more about the creatures you find interesting all of the facts used in this episode are from Britannica dot com National Geographic dot com Bertha dot org discover wildlife dot com at him online A. M. N. H. dot org and science dot howstuffworks dot com all of these resources are in the description down below so if you would like to explore all of these resources I absolutely encourage you to do so this episode would not have been possible without them again if you would like more episodes of the podcast exclusive episodes I might add about animals that no longer roam this earth in the extinct animal miniseries or mythical animals in the mythical mini series you can go to patrie on dot com slash relax with animal facts were just follow the relevant links in the description what an amazing episode I am so glad that I got to cover another ape that is so interesting thank you again Annalisa and Rebecca for this animal suggestion I hope all of you enjoyed this episode and I hope that you'll join me in the next podcast episode with the next animal take care