Humans & Chimpanzees

Primates with a lot in common


  • share approximately 96–98 % of our DNA
  • have large, complex brains
  • lose our baby teeth at age 6 and have 32 teeth as adults
  • have opposable thumbs that allow us to grasp objects
  • see colors and have binocular stereoscopic vision for depth perception
  • have monthly reproductive cycles and 8 to 9 month pregnancies
  • typically give birth to a single child and occasionally twins
  • are usually active during the day and sleep at night (diurnal)
  • eat a varied diet including fruits, greens, meat, seeds, eggs, roots, and honey


  • show affection by kissing and embracing
  • experience depression and stress
  • grieve over separation from or death of a loved one
  • can be compassionate and altruistic
  • express excitement by hooting, hollering, and hugging
  • experience fear, anxiety, loneliness, and boredom
  • have a wide variety of individual personalities
  • shout, stomp, and have tantrums when angry
  • can be jealous, frustrated, or aggressive when our goals are thwarted
  • clown around and enjoy the antics of others
  • laugh and smile when we are happy or playful
  • cry when we are sad, upset, afraid, or hurt
  • can display devotion, loyalty, and deep attachment to others
  • are ticklish

Social and family

  • share strong, often lifetime bonds, and live in societies of family and friends
  • greet one another with hugs, hand holding, facial expressions, and vocalizations
  • have complex interactions, exhibiting everything from cooperation to deception
  • often reconcile and make up after conflicts
  • console and comfort each other by embracing, patting, and kissing
  • show physical care and affection to each other through grooming
  • have intricate courtships with the opposite sex
  • show respect for our elders and give them status and influence
  • can be competitive and territorial
  • form political alliances by following a leader who recruits support
  • engage in wars over territory and power

Early development

  • are almost completely dependent on our mothers until age 5
  • need affectionate physical contact for healthy development, beginning with our strong bond with our mothers
  • use play during childhood to learn adult behaviors and burn off energy
  • continue to enjoy play as adults
  • learn our parents’ skills through observation and practice
  • allow trusted others to provide childcare for mothers who need help
  • are protective and tolerant with our young, family, and friends

Intellectual and cognitive

  • are self-aware and like to see our own reflection
  • make and use tools
  • pass down cultural traditions or skills from generation to generation
  • are capable of abstract thinking and problem solving
  • use herbs and plants as medicines, knowing which to use for various ailments
  • enjoy the comfort of cozy beds/nests
  • have an excellent memory and recognize others who we have not seen for years
  • are capable of seeing things from someone else’s perspective
  • communicate through facial expressions, vocalizations, body language, and gestures

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