Primate Comparison

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Primate Comparison


This paper includes research conducted at a zoo. The purpose of this part of the project is

to familiarize you with how primate research is done. In order to complete the task, you

will have to go to a zoo (the Los Angeles zoo is great, but others are fine as well).

During some semesters, a class trip to the zoo is scheduled about a third of the way

through the semester. See the class website for the exact date. Email announcements

will go out to remind you of the date and time. The zoo trip starts with a brief tour (about

60 minutes long) intended to familiarize you with the primates at the zoo.



Chimpanzees are members of the Hominidae family, along with gorillas, humans, and orangutans. Chimpanzees split from the human branch of the family about 4 to 6 million years ago. The two chimpanzee species are the closest living relatives to humans, all being members of the Hominini tribe (along with extinct species of Hominina subtribe). Chimpanzees are the only known members of the Panina subtribe. The two Pan species split only about one million years ago (Gardner & Gardner, 1969).

The male common chimp is up to 1.7 metres (5.6 ft) high when standing, and weighs as much as 70 kilograms (150 lb); the female is somewhat smaller. The common chimp's long arms, when extended, have a span one and a half times as long as the body's height and a chimpanzee's arms are longer than its legs. The monkey is a little shorter and thinner than the common chimpanzee but has longer limbs. Both species use their long, powerful arms for climbing in trees. On the ground, chimpanzees usually walk on all fours using their knuckles for support with their hands clenched, a form of locomotion called knuckle-walking. Chimpanzee feet are better suited for walking than are those of the orangutan because the chimp's soles are broader and the toes shorter. Both the common chimpanzee and monkey can walk upright on two legs when carrying objects with their hands and arms. The Monkey has proportionately longer upper limbs and tends to walk upright more often than the common chimpanzee. The coat is dark; the face, fingers, palms of the hands, and soles of the feet are hairless; and the chimp has no tail. The exposed skin of the face, hands and feet varies from pink to very dark in both species, but is generally lighter in younger individuals, darkening as maturity is reached (Dixson, 1981). A University of Chicago Medical Centre study has found significant genetic differences between chimpanzee populations. A bony shelf over the eyes gives the forehead a receding appearance, and the nose is flat. Although the jaws protrude, the lips are thrust out only when a chimp pouts.

Chimpanzees make tools and use them to acquire foods and for social displays; they have sophisticated hunting strategies requiring cooperation, influence and rank; they are status conscious, manipulative and capable of deception; they can learn to use ...
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