10×14 watercolor enhanced colored pencil on satin finish Arches watercolor paper.. Original unavailable, and residing in a private collection.
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The Chimpanzee, often shortened to chimp, is the common name for the two extant species of apes in the genus Pan. The better known chimpanzee is Pan troglodytes, the Common Chimpanzee, living primarily in West, and Central Africa. Its cousin, the Bonobo or “Pygmy Chimpanzee” as it is known archaically, Pan paniscus, is found in the forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Congo River forms the boundary between the two species.[Chimpanzees are members of the Hominidae family, along with gorillas, humans, and orangutans.
Measurements A full grown adult male chimpanzee can weigh from 35-70 kilograms (75-155 pounds) and stand 0.9-1.2 meters (3-4 feet) tall, while females usually weigh 26-50 kg (57-110 pounds) and stand 0.66-1 meters (2.0-3.5 feet) tall.
Lifespan Chimpanzees rarely live past the age of 40 in the wild, but have been known to reach the age of 60 in captivity. Cheeta, star of Tarzan is still alive as of 2007 at the age of 75, making him the oldest known chimpanzee in the world.
Darwin’s theory of evolution (published in 1859) spurred scientific interest in chimpanzees, as in much of life science, leading eventually to numerous studies of the animals in the wild and captivity. The observers of chimpanzees at the time were mainly interested in behaviour as it related to that of humans. This was less strictly and disinterestedly scientific than it might sound, with much attention being focused on whether or not the animals had traits that could be considered ‘good’; the intelligence of chimpanzees was often significantly exaggerated. At one point there was even a scheme drawn up to domesticate chimpanzees in order to have them perform various menial tasks (i.e. factory work). By the end of the 1800s chimpanzees remained very much a mystery to humans, with very little factual scientific information available.
The 20th century saw a new age of scientific research into chimpanzee behaviour. Prior to 1960, almost nothing was known about chimpanzee behavior in their natural habitat. In July of that year, Jane Goodall set out to Tanzania’s Gombe forest to live among the chimpanzees. Her discovery that chimpanzees made and used tools was groundbreaking, as humans were previously believed to be the only species to do so. The most progressive early studies on chimpanzees were spearheaded primarily by Wolfgang Köhler and Robert Yerkes, both of whom were renowned psychologists. Both men and their colleagues established laboratory studies of chimpanzees focused specifically on learning about the intellectual abilities of chimpanzees, particularly problem-solving. This typically involved basic, practical tests on laboratory chimpanzees, which required a fairly high intellectual capacity (such as how to solve the problem of acquiring an out-of-reach banana). Notably, Yerkes also made extensive observations of chimpanzees in the wild which added tremendously to the scientific understanding of chimpanzees and their behaviour. Yerkes studied chimpanzees until World War II, while Köhler concluded five years of study and published his famous Mentality of Apes in 1925 (which is coincidentally when Yerkes began his analyses), eventually concluding that “chimpanzees manifest intelligent behavior of the general kind familiar in human beings … a type of behaviour which counts as specifically human” (1925) (info from Wikipedia).