Anatomical differences between Common and Pygmy Chimpanzees are slight, but in sexual and social behaviour there are marked differences. Common Chimpanzees have an omnivorous diet, a troop hunting culture based on beta males led by a relatively weak alpha, and highly complex social relationships; Bonobos, on the other hand, have a mostly herbivorous diet and an egalitarian, matriarchal, sexually promiscuous culture.
The genus Pan is now considered to be part of the subfamily Homininae to which humans also belong. Biologists believe that the chimpanzees are the closest living evolutionary relatives to humans. Their common ancestor branched off from its latest common ancestor with us as recently as four to seven million years ago, and they have 98 to 99.4 percent of their DNA in common with humans, which prompted biologist Jared Diamond to dub humans "the third chimpanzee." It has even been proposed that chimpanzees and bonobos should be recatagorized in the genus Homo as well. The argument for this is that other species have been reclassified to belong to the same genus on the basis of less genetic similarity than that between humans and chimpanzees. This is controversial both because many find it discomforting to blur the line between what is "human" and what is "animal" and because it would call into question the morality of using chimpanzees in animal testing.
See the history of hominoid taxonomy for more about the history of the classification of chimpanzees.
Share your thoughts, questions and commentary here
Want to know more? Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:
Press Releases |
The Wikipedia article included on this page is licensed under the
Images may be subject to relevant owners' copyright.
All other elements are (c) copyright NationMaster.com 2003-5. All Rights Reserved.
Usage implies agreement with terms, 1022, m