Similarities Between Humans and Chimpanzees

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What are Humans?

Although this might seem like a rather trivial, or even senseless question, it is in fact an actively researched topic in science, especially biology, anthropology and archeology.

To be precise, we belong to the Homo sapiens species, which is the term that describes anatomically modern humans, as opposed to the so-called “archaic humans”, from which we evolved, such as the Homo erectus or Homo habilis.

The theory which describes how we evolved from those species is the famous theory of evolution which was first proposed by Charles Darwin. It describes how, via the processes of random mutations and natural selection, certain species evolve and change over very long periods of time.

Under certain circumstances, a single species might divide into two different species, where each of those two species adapted to different conditions. It is postulated that something like this might have happened some 5-7 million years ago with humans and chimpanzees.

This common ancestor from which we both evolved is called Sahelanthropus tchadensis. We both belong to the great ape family, and share between 85 and 95% of our genes.

Similarities Between Humans and Chimpanzees

What are Chimpanzees?

As I’ve mentioned, chimps also belong to the great ape family, like humans.

However, while there’s only one species of humans, there are two species of chimpanzees – the common chimpanzee and the bonobo. There are some significant differences between these two species, especially in their sexual behavior, and it’s postulated that bonobos might be more closely related to humans than common chimpanzees.

Both species of chimps are able to walk bipedally (upright on both legs, like humans), they have complex social structures in which they communicate with various hoots, grunts and similar vocalizations, they can use various tools and create different structures, and are overall a very intelligent species capable of quick learning, making them in many aspects similar to humans some several thousand years ago.

The size of their brain is around 400ml on average, which might seem small compared to the human average of 1400ml, however, there is significant evidence that there is no correlation between brain size and intelligence, so this is no indicator of their lack of intelligence.

On the contrary, chimps have been able to communicate even with humans, they are capable of perceiving complex emotions, rational thinking and solving some complicated practical problems, making them some of the most intelligent species of animals, apart from humans.

Similarities between Humans and Chimpanzees

There are, of course, obvious differences between humans and chimps – the amount of hair on their bodies, the shape of their skull and the size of their brain, as well as the complexity of their language and social structure. In addition, the color of their eyes is different, as their iris is colored dark brown or black, as opposed to the white color in humans. Their sexual behavior is an interesting aspect – there is significant difference between common chimps and bonobos. Common chimps only have sex when in heat, they don’t form any long-term relationship and their sexual interaction lasts not much longer than 10-15 seconds. Bonobos, on the other hand, are famous for their sexual appetite. They usually solve any conflicts through sexual intercourse, and even greet each other via sexual stimulation. They form long-term relationships, and their sexual interactions last much longer. Taking all these differences into account, there are some general similarities between both species of chimps and humans:

Humans and Chimpanzees in terms of “ Ancestors” :

We have probably evolved from a common ancestor

Humans and Chimpanzees in terms of “ DNA”:

We share 85-95% of our DNA

Humans and Chimpanzees in terms of “ Diet”:

We are both omnivores, and thus share a similar diet

Humans and Chimpanzees in terms of “ Tools”:

We can both use various tools in order to build different structures

Humans and Chimpanzees in terms of “ Walking”:

We can both walk upright, on two legs

Humans and Chimpanzees in terms of “ Vision”:

We both see in color

Similarities between Humans and Chimpanzees in terms of “ Social Relationship”:

We can both form complex social relationships

Summary

Humans belong to the species called Homo sapiens, and are currently the only species of humans alive. Chimps, on the other hand, have two species – common chimpanzees and bonobos.

They are mostly the same, but have significant differences in their sexual behavior. Chimps and humans probably evolved from a common ancestor, making them very similar in various aspects, mostly in the fact that they share around 90% of their DNA and are among the most intelligent species on Earth.

Author: Dr. Howard Fields

Dr. Howard is a Clinical Psychologist and a Professional Writer and he has been partnering with patients to create positive change in their lives for over fifteen years. Dr. Howard integrates complementary methodologies and techniques to offer a highly personalized approach tailored to each patient.

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