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Sunday, 30 March 2014


When Dr. Jane Goodall observed a chimpanzee using a grass stalk to extract termites from a termite hill at the Kasakela Chimpanzee Community in Tanzania on November 4, 1960, it was the first recorded case of tool use by animals.

Ham the Chimp was launched into outer space aboard NASA's Mercury-Redstone 2 on January 31, 1961. Not the first animal, or even the first primate in space, it was his 1961 mission - in which he was not merely an unresponsive passenger - that led directly to manned space flight.

He was only given the name "Ham" after successfully completing his mission. The primate was known as Number 65 before that, as NASA believed that it would be bad publicity if a "named" chimp burned up in the atmosphere or otherwise died as a result of mission failure.

Ham died in 1983, aged 26.

Cheeta was Tarzan’s sidekick in the movies in the 1930s-1960s, Cheeta went on to live a happy life as an Ambassador, also playing piano and painting.

Cheetah had more than a dozen incarnations over the years, one of whom died in December 2011, supposedly at the age of 80 making him the oldest non-human primate of all time.

Congo (1954-1964)  the Chimpanzee was known for his "lyrical abstract impressionist" paintings. On June 20, 2005, Congo's paintings were included in an auction at Bonhams alongside works by Renoir and Warhol. American collector Howard Hong purchased three of Congo's works for over $26,000 and Spanish painter Pablo Picasso purportedly hung one of the ape's pictures on his studio wall after receiving it as a gift.

A painting by Congo.

A study in 2004 reported that chimpanzees prefer their own music to pre-recorded tracks.

Bubbles was saved from a life of research by Michael Jackson. One of several chimps owned by the singer, he ended up being taken to live in a sanctuary, following the birth of Jackson’s youngest child.

Chimpanzee babies are cognitively more developed than human babies until the age of six months.

47% of male chimpanzees will reconcile after a fight with another male whereas just 18 per cent of females will make-up after a female-on-female fight.

Chimpanzees understand vengeance. Two zookeepers played contrasting roles: one regularly fed the chimpanzees and the other took their food away. When a third person pretended to beat each zookeeper, many chimpanzees made an effort to watch the "disliked" zookeeper being punished.

Humans have about the same number of hair follicles as a chimpanzee has.

Chimpanzees clear their throats for the same reasons that humans do.

A group of 55 chimpanzees has more genetic diversity than the group of every living human.

Chimpanzees mourn their dead much like humans, staying with them while they’re dying and cleaning and protecting the bodies.

Researchers studying the brain activity of captive chimpanzees have found that the smartest apes also happen to throw their poop most accurately.

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