Clever chimps

Unlike gorillas, which survive on only a couple of dozen different plants, chimpanzees eat the leaves of over 200 different plants. They also eat leaves, bark, blossoms, fruit, insects, honey, birds eggs, birds and even small mammals.

To do all that, an animal must have a very nimble mind and an inquisitive disposition.

Chimps spend a lot of time on the ground, but are not as adapted to it as the gorilla. The gorilla's foot has lost its grasp while a chimp's foot is still almost as dexterous as its hand.

Chimps are small enough to climb trees and gather leaves, as well as spend the night up there where it is safer. Every evening they make a bed for themselves, a springy platform constructed by bending the ends of branches.

Because they live in groups of up to 50 strong, they need to recognise each other. Lemurs do this by leaving distinctive scent marks, but chimpanzees have less sensitive noses so recognize each other by sight. Because of this, they have very different and easily recognisable faces.

Release date: 22 Jan 2010

3 minutes

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