While many people like to think we are unique for planet Earth, the reality is that we are not nearly as unique as some may think. While we may not look particularly similar, we share our planet with other species that are very similar indeed. One of these is the chimpanzee. Along with bonobos, they are our closest relative on Earth. Chimpanzees belong to the pan genus alongside the only other members of the family, bonobos. We are so closely related that some people feel they really belong in the homo genus, which would make them a species of human.
Chimpanzees are a popular attraction in zoos and nature parks. They often entertain kids with their funny antics, but this is quite an unrealistic portrayal. The unpleasant reality is that they are very aggressive animals prone to extreme violence. Despite this, they are very intelligent, and are the second most intelligent animals on the planet, behind only humans.
Chimpanzees have fascinated us ever since we first knew about them, and they have made appearances in literature, TV and films. We have learned a great deal about these amazing animals, including some incredible facts.
Chimpanzee Fact #10: Close Relatives
People, scientifically known as homo sapiens, are members of the great ape family. Other members of this group are chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orangutans. We are very closely related to the other great apes, and the closest of all is the chimpanzee, alongside the bonobo. We are so closely related that we share more than 98.5 percent of our DNA with them. Our common ancestors lived around 6 million years ago.
Humans are members of the homo genus, of which we are the only remaining member. Chimpanzees are members of the pan genus, of which there are two members. These are chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and bonobos (Pan paniscus). Although bonobos are often called pygmy chimpanzees, they are not a chimp at all, but rather a very close relative. One of the great ape species went on to become the planet’s dominant species, causing a great deal of harm to others in the process.