6 Shocking Things About Chimps
Chimps are very much like humans, from giggling to grieving.
Chimps are smart, sassy and funny, especially when dressed up like little people. But did you know that they’re much more like us than we might realize? For one, they’re cold-blooded killers, carrying out brutal raids on other chimp groups to expand their territory. The attacks are most often done by patrolling packs of male chimps that are "quiet and move with stealth," according to the study’s lead author, John Mitani of the University of Michigan. And it works for them: they get land, extra food and resources, and even better access to females.
Male chimpanzees have spines on their penises that likely increase stimulation during mating, according to a study in Nature. Human males once had them too, but they dropped this trait. Lucky for the ladies –- or unlucky, as the case may be -- because the penis spines, while improving stimulation, can also be pret-ty painful for females during intercourse.
Chimps looove green monkey oranges and will go to great lengths to open the stubborn fruit. In fact, three chimpanzee groups opened the fruit in different ways, showing that chimps can innovate. The chimps, all living in Zambia, invented eight different ways to get inside the hard-shelled fruit: bang it against a tree or a rock; throw it; nibble a hole; go at it with your teeth; smack the fruits together; stomp on it; and peel it.
Tickle chimps and what do you think happens? That’s right, they giggle like children. Their laughter comes in the same sorts of situations as humans, sounds like a human and they laugh more than we do, since they can do it while inhaling AND exhaling. Other animals giggle too when tickled, including rats and puppies.
When you’re working with someone on a project, you follow along with what they’re doing and offer them help when you sense they need it, right? Chimps do the same thing, sharing a tool or physically chipping in on team projects. And once they learn to help a friend out one time, they’ll do it up to 97 percent of the time.
Videos of chimp colonies show our closest cousins treating each other in dying and death much like we do. In one video, two chimps kept a vigil over a dying community member, touching and grooming her. In another, a mother shoos flies away from her recently deceased infant. Mother chimps have also been seen carrying dead babies around for weeks after they pass, some until they’re mummified.