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About 30 million years ago, the Old World primate branch did split into two. The first branch from the split included monkeys such as macaque and baboon. The second branch did include the gorillas, orangutans, bonobos, chimpanzees, and humans. In about six million years ago, the second branch split and human beings emerged from the split. Today, several studies tend to provide a strong evidence of our biological closeness to chimpanzees and bonobos. As a result of behavioral and biological similarities between chimpanzees and humans, scientists have been conducting numerous studies on the chimpanzees. Today, scientists are using chimpanzees in the study of laughter, language, and memory and also personal awareness. In this research paper, it will focus on ways that the chimpanzee behavior is similar to human behavior and also identify some differences in the behavior.

Chimpanzees and humans

Chimpanzees tend to be the human’s closest living relatives. Humans and chimpanzees tend to look alike in many ways including behavior and the body. According to scientists, chimpanzees and humans tend to differ by only one percent of the DNA since they descended from a single ancestor. The chimpanzees and human beings tend to be in the animal order primates. As humans and chimpanzees evolved from a common ancestor, their DNA was passed from one generation to another, and several changes occurred. Many of the DNA changes led to the different between the chimpanzee and human being in regards to behavior and appearance (Caughell, 2016). The characteristics of chimpanzees include increased reliance on stereoscopic vision, large brains, about body size, less reliance on smell, and opposable thumbs and flexible joints. Behavioral studies have found that chimpanzees tend to use tools, engage in power struggles, and form complex communities. They tend to display sympathy, reciprocity, empathy, and the willingness to follow social rules. Chimpanzees also possess a self-awareness that is demonstrated by their ability to recognize themselves in the mirror.

Modern anatomists claim that the brain of the chimpanzee is similar to the human not just in general shape and location of the sulci and convolution, but in the location of the architectonic systems of the cortex of large cerebral hemisphere. The human brain tends to be about three times as large as that of the chimpanzee, but calculations indicate that if it were equal to the human by weight, it would have the same relation between its parts as found in human(Caughell, 2016). Chimpanzees resemble humans more than any other animal in regards to the mental process apart from the size. The human brains are similar to the chimpanzee brains. The main difference is not anatomical, but behavioral. The significant behavioral difference in human is the use of objects and language. The human child refers to items in the representational manner and chimpanzees do not show this behavior.

Similarity between chimpanzee and human behavior


The playful behavior is common in mammals, and it has essential developmental consequences. A study by Palagi and Cordoni (2011) found that young chimpanzees tend to show that chimpanzees play and develop in much the same away as the human child. According to the researchers, the chimpanzee solitary play peaks in infancy while the time they spend in social play is relatively constant between the juveniles and infants. They also found that the type of social play did change a bit as the animal grew up regarding measures such as playmate choice and the complexity. In the study, Palagi and Cordoni (2011) found that both species tend to indicate significant qualitative and quantitative development in the play behavior from infancy to juvenility.

Chimpanzees and humans have a similarity in behavior as they both use playful facial expressions in communication and building social networks. They tend to analyze the playmate choice, and they both prefer peers for the play partners. The facial display is also evident in play in both humans and chimps. The humans and chimps tend to smile spontaneously during the pleasurable experience that includes auditory, visual, and tactile stimulation (Lonsdorf et al. 2010). The smiles and play faces, which are the expression of positive emotional states, tend to reinforce behaviors that elicited them in the first place. Like the laughter in humans, the playful expressions in chimps tend to play a role in advertising the cooperative dispositions and intentions; which increases the likelihood of engaging in solid social relationships. According to Palagi and Cordoni (2011), play in humans and chimpanzees vary in accordance to the age of players about the different parameters like selectivity of playmates, complexity, modality, and the frequency.


In captivity, chimpanzees may learn human languages and learn over 300 signs. Chimps can master many complex skills on the computers. Researchers indicate that chimps like humans are capable of reasoned, though, generalization, abstraction, the concept of self and symbolic representation. Chimps tend to feel and express emotions such as fear, happiness, sadness, and despair and they also know physical and mental pain (Caughell, 2016). Some other communication similarities include kissing, patting on the back, embracing, and swaggering, brandishing sticks, hurling rocks, touching hands, and shaking the first. Some of these patterns are similar as those seen in humans. Chimpanzees tend to use hand gestures similar to humans when they are communicating during the developmental stages. Behavior such as gesture can allow the infants to refer to objects before they can master their names and also gain an input regarding the relation between words and objects.  Chimpanzees display clear evidence of communicative intention while gesturing. According to Pika et al. (2005), chimpanzees tend to use purely visual gestures when the audience is facing them ad communication using vocalization when the audience is facing away.

Human child and baby chimpanzee tend to increase the use of gestures when they are developing. The human child starts to substitute language while the chimpanzee continues their use of lexigrams. Humans and chimpanzees make vocalizations in certain situations to give another individual message or even to express an emotion. As humans, we know that laughter associates with feelings of joy and happiness while crying associate with the feelings of sadness (Hopkins et al. 2001). The same applies to the behavior of chimpanzees. A chimpanzee may cry when they are feeling distressed, and they may laugh when they feel the excitement. Just like with human beings, the chimpanzee can recognize the voice of each other. Each chimp tends to make a unique pant-hoot that is used in recognizing the individual much just like how humans have different voices.

Another similarity in human and chimpanzee behavior is with non-vocal communication. In both humans and chimpanzees, there are some messages and emotions shared with simple body language and facial expression. Chimpanzees may hold hands, kiss, and groom with friendly touches. These are some of the gestures seen in humans, and they have the same meaning that human gives (Hopkins et al. 2001). In most case, as humans, we tend to pat the back of a fellow as a sign to give them reassurance. Gestures in both humans and chimps have a way of conveying feelings without having to communicate verbally. For instance, when a chimpanzee is angry, he may stand upright, throw rocks, and wave their arms around and every scream to emphasize their bodily movement. The same behavior is evident in human when they are angry or upset. When upset, humans are likely to stand up, scream or yell, while making large gestures with our arms, which is the same behavior portrayed by chimpanzees.


The chimpanzee brain and the central nervous system are almost similar to our own.  The chimpanzee is capable of intellectual performance. When in the wild, the chimps constantly make decisions like which group they should join and whether to be aggressive or peaceful. The chimpanzees tend to have very sophisticated cooperation during hunting. They normally use more tools for many purposes than any other creature. The ability of the chimpanzee to mimic the abilities of a young human child indicates their infinite capacity to adapting. Such ability does not show any limit of these animals to think, learn, and act from their reason and their adult status in the society (Lonsdorf et al. 2010). The chimpanzee adults just like human adults have mature intelligence while the child tends to act without thinking about the consequences. There are some chimpanzees that are slow while others are brilliant indicating that the range of intelligence varies just like in human beings. The ability of chimpanzees to learn skills and teach their young ones is remarkable. Just like human beings, chimpanzees can do just everything so as to survive in this world with the challenges present.

Chimpanzees tend to have large complex brains with a physical structure similar to human brains. Chimps are curious, and they learn through observation and imitation. With their intelligence, chimpanzees like humans are capable of making tools. They can make their toys and also devise their games. Chimpanzee with their intelligence tends to understand how to use medicinal plants. That is the same behavior as the one observed in humans. The chimps learn how to use certain plants as medicine. They normally chew on the leaves of aspilia plants that have an oil-based drug that tends to kill the parasitic bacteria and worms. When they are having stomach pains, chimps usually drink the juice of Vernonia shoots that function as antibiotic.

Chimpanzees display a remarkable range of talent and behavior. They use and make tools, hunt in groups, and engage in violent acts. Both chimpanzees and humans are capable of modifying their environment so as to forge tools to help with the daily challenges. The chimpanzees can make spears, mash leaves to a pulp and use as makeshift sponges, and use stones as hammers.  These are social creatures that are capable of empathy, cooperation in problem solving, altruism, and learning through experience and example (Tanaka et al. 2006). Chimpanzee is one animal that makes conscious decisions. In decision-making, the chimpanzee usually waits, observe the surrounding and the situation, weigh the benefits and costs of its behavior, and act based on what they see. In gathering information about the surrounding and waiting, the chimpanzee can make a more informed decision regarding something. The ability of the chimp to make a decision regarding something also makes a good problem solver. Decision-making and problem solving are some of the characteristics that chimpanzees share with human beings.  The chimps use reasoned thought when they are processing information and using their memory.

Social behavior

Chimpanzees are social beings just like humans. The social interaction is essential in the development of the chimpanzee, their good being, and learning. The chimpanzees normally live in social groups known as communities. In the social groups, the members of the community may join in large gathering normally when fruit is available or when a sexually popular female come into oestrus.

Chimpanzees normally spend a lot of time socializing. Their socialization involves grooming each other. The adolescent and juvenile chimpanzees may play and chase each other. Tickling is also evident as with the adults with their offspring. With the chimp social behavior, showing affection may include, hugging and kissing that is done between the chimps of any gender or age (Lonsdorf et al. 2010). Chimps usually strengthen their friendship through spending extensive time when grooming each other. The same happen with humans as they spend most time in socializing through talking rather than grooming.

In chimpanzee family, social interaction tends to be extremely essential. The family relation is vital to chimps as they live in extended family groups, which is almost similar to human beings. Chimps normally have a fission-fusion social organization in which they break off into smaller groups and periodically come together. Both humans and chimpanzees reach their sexual maturity in their early teens. The mothers rear the infant chimpanzees, and they tend to have a close relationship with the related females and older siblings. In case a mother dies or is injured, the others will take care of the role. In their groups, chimpanzees usually life, play, and hunt communally in the groups. They tend to call to each other when announcing the presence of a certain food and they have different warning calls for different predators. In the groups that chimps live, they get to learn from each other (Tanaka et al. 2006). Similar to human, chimpanzees normally hand down their behaviors from one generation to the other, and it may vary from one group to the other. Chimpanzees present their backs as a sign of trust to another whom they feel safe and want to both with or be in a relationship with (Tanaka et al. 2006). Some chimps tend to sort through the hair of others, picking, probing, and stroking and the root of this behavior is a means of deep bonding. The tactile rituals calm the tension, and it fosters relation. Chimps normally embrace each other as a greeting, for comfort, or consolation.

Chimps tend to search for food communally. A group of male chimps will chase, corner, and then kill monkeys for meat. They may sit together for hours fishing termites or enjoy ripe fruits of trees. Chimps normally respect and acknowledge the hierarchy in their groups. The dominance relationships are influenced by coalitions and alliances formed by a male. Just as humans want to protect their territory, chimps will attack any trespassing male from another territory so as to defend theirs.

Difference between chimpanzee and human being

Chimpanzees and humans share a lot of similarities; however, there is some difference that is evident. The most significant difference is that Chimps have not developed the sophisticated spoken language. Human being can teach their children about events and things not present, make plans for the future, discuss an idea, and also share knowledge of the distant past (Hayakawa, 2014). The idea that chimps can learn from humans to communicate using human language does not minimize this difference. Because of the human language, it enabled humans to become dependent on the culturally transmitted behavior.

Another difference in the behavior of chimps and human being is the chimp’s lack of theory of mind. Chimpanzees cannot infer the mental state of another whether they are sad, happy, interested in the same goal, or angry. Although the chimpanzees are proficient at reading the body language, they cannot contemplate the state of mind of another being when there is no body language (Hayakawa, 2014). The difference between human and chimpanzees is that they understand others as subjects with intentions. Chimpanzees are very intelligence, and they may observe the behavior of other chimpanzees and learn from that. However, the way that chimps learn is completely different from how humans learn. Chimpanzees normally understand the change of status before and also after the action of another chimp and they emulate that. However, they do not understand the intention behind that behavior (Hayakawa, 2014). For instance, when a mother chimp rolls a log over and catches insects under it, the child will learn it not through understanding the behavioral strategy of the mother, but through seeing the status change caused by her action.


Chimpanzees are animals that show behavior that is much like those of the human beings. Chimpanzees are a close relative of the human species. The scientists have studied chimpanzees as a source of information on learning, psychological functions, and also on social behavior. The similarities between the human beings and chimpanzees are explained regarding behaviors genetically transmitted from common ancestors.  The more that scientists study chimpanzees, the more they find similarities between their behaviors and people. When looking at chimpanzees, they tend to have the same social problems as humans. Chimps want to find mates, make friends, and even gain a position in the society. The personality of chimpanzees is also similar to that of humans. Chimpanzees modify sticks, leaves, and rocks into tools so as to help them gather food such as nuts, honey, and ants. Based on the discussion, it indicates that many aspects of the chimpanzee behavior, social relation, intellectual abilities, emotional expression, and needs are similar to human beings. When considering chimpanzee infant and a human infant, they both have the capacity for endless play, and they are highly curious. They also learn through imitation and observation, and they need constant attention and reassurance. The research paper provides a discussion of the behavior similarities and difference in chimpanzees and human.


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