Are Chimpanzees Monkeys?
Are chimpanzees monkeys? No, it is obvious that we all know well enough that chimpanzees are not monkeys. Chimpanzees are regarded as a primate species just like monkeys, and are they are also classified as apes. However, monkeys are not considered to be great apes; in fact, monkeys are not regarded as apes at all.
How different are chimpanzees from Monkeys?
• The easiest way to tell the differences between a chimpanzee and monkey is by the absence of the tail in chimpanzees. Almost all monkeys by nature have tails while chimpanzees don’t.
• When it comes to their body structures, chimpanzees have larger and broader chests and shoulder joints while allow them to swing through trees. Monkeys on the other hand are generally smaller and narrow-chested than chimpanzees.
• Chimpanzees have an appendix while monkeys do not. However, one cannot notice this important factor on sight.
• Research has scientifically proven that indeed chimpanzees are more intelligent than monkeys. Jane Goodall was the first researcher to discover that chimpanzees can actually make and use tools. She observed a chimpanzee strip leaves from a stem and use it to get termites. Chimpanzees can also use others tools like rocks as hammers to crack nuts, use leaves as napkins and sponges, sticks to scoop out honey from beehives and kill small insects.
• Chimpanzees, unlike monkeys, can learn and use human sign languages with perfect examples being Washoe, a female chimpanzee who knew 240 signs.
• Chimpanzees are more closely related to humans than monkeys are to humans. Chimpanzees share about 95 to 98 percent of their DNA with humans, which means that they are also prone to suffer from diseases which affect human beings such as flu, colds, cough, Ebola, pneumonia and the corona virus among others. It is for specific reason that visitors interested in tracking chimpanzees are recommended not to do chimpanzee trekking if you are suffering from any of the above air-borne diseases.
• Chimpanzees cannot swim although their habitats are near water. It is nearly impossible for them to swim because of their large body structures and densities.
• Latest statistics show that chimpanzees populations in the wild range between 170,000 to 300,000 individuals. While there are only four subspecies of chimpanzees known in the world today, there are more than 260 species of monkeys living in the world today.
• Chimpanzees are omnivorous apes and their diet is mainly composed of leaves, fruits, tree barks, nuts, and small insects. In fact chimpanzees can occasionally hunt monkeys and other small animals for meat.
• Chimpanzees have a much longer gestation period than monkeys, which is 237 days. The gestation period of monkeys varies depending on their genus and may range from 164 to 187 days.
• Chimpanzees are only native to the African continent while monkeys can be found in all continents of the world, with monkeys species varying from one continent to another.
Where can one see chimpanzees in the wild?
Visitors interested in seeing chimpanzees in their natural habitat can do so in any of the countries; Rwanda, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Nigeria, Central African Republic and South Sudan to mention but a few. The best places for visitors to track habituated chimpanzees would be in Nyungwe Forest National Park in Rwanda, Kahuzi-Biega National Park in Congo, Gombe National Park in Tanzania and Kibale National Park, Budongo forest, Kyambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kalinzu Forest, and Toro-Semuliki wildlife reserve in Uganda.
What to pack when trekking chimpanzees in the wild?
Whether you have chosen to do chimpanzee trekking in Uganda, Rwanda, Congo or any other country offering the activities, there are some essential items that you must pack before embarking on your trip, and these include; a good hiking shoes, a camera, light, dull colored long sleeve shirt, long trousers, packed lunch/snacks and mineral water.
Also, do not forget to purchase a chimpanzee trekking permit at least 6 months in advance, and make sure that you carry your chimpanzee trekking permit on the day you are going to track chimpanzees.
Chimpanzee trekking is actually a very fascinating experience that involves tourists hiking in forests, tracking chimpanzee footprints and locating where they made their nests the previous night in an attempt to locate chimpanzee families/ groups. This whole process can be a bit tiring for visitors and yet so rewarding once the chimps have been located.