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Regenstein Center for African Apes

Did You Know?

  • Chimpanzees are the closest living relatives to humans. The two species share a common ancestor that lived around 4–8 million years ago.
  • Chimpanzees use a variety of tools, including sticks, rocks, and leaves. Their habitat at Regenstein Center for African Apes includes an artificial termite mound, which allows zoo scientists to study their tool-use behavior at the zoo.
  • These great apes live in the forest belt of Africa. Killing, capturing, or consuming great apes is illegal and they are protected by both national and international laws throughout their range. However, they may experience poaching and deforestation.

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Why aren’t animals visible at all times? To promote positive animal welfare, we provide animals with choices. They can choose to spend time in areas that are out of public view.


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Scientific Name: Pan troglodytes

Class: Mammals

Diet: Fruit, vegetation, leaves, stems, seeds, flowers, honey, eggs, mushrooms, insects, medium-sized mammals, carrion

Range: Western and Central Africa

Endangered Status: Endangered

More Information

Chimpanzees are between 4–5.5 feet tall and weigh up to 130 pounds. They are covered in dark brown hair except for the face and ears. Like all apes, they have opposable thumbs on their hands and no tails. They also have toes that function like opposable thumbs. Chimpanzees normally knuckle-walk on all fours but can also walk upright and swing from tree branches. They feed and sleep mostly in trees.

These great apes live in large troops that include multiple males and females. They have “fission-fusion” communities, where small groups may break off and then re-gather after a period of time. Chimps give birth throughout the year after a gestation of about 230 days—usually to one infant or twins. Their young are weaned at 4–5 years of age. Females become mature at 13 years and males do so at 16 years.

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