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Play

Like humans, childhood is a time for learning. Chimpanzees are also dependent on learned behavior in almost every aspect of their adult lives. The social skills needed as an adult are obtained during childhood from observing and participating in social behavior.

Play is an important activity for young chimpanzees. They learn to move about quickly in the trees and to run through the rugged underbrush of the forest playing "chase". They will use this skill as an adult to evade aggressors. Games like wrestle/tickle/poke and play biting are rudimentary behavior that becomes violent when adults fight.

Watching chimpanzee children play is like watching human youngsters. They love rough and tumble play such as wrestling, chasing about on the ground and in the tall trees, poking and tickling with long fingers, and crazily turning pirouettes and somersaults on the ground and wild gymnastic play among the branches of the tall forest canopy.

Young chimpanzees must pay attention to their mothers and other adults to learn which foods are safe to eat and where ripe food is located. Some foods require tools to obtain while other foods are obtained through hunting. These skills are observed and first attempted as children. Making tools and using them to obtain food and hunting are also human behaviors.

 

Captive Chimpanzees

One of the most enjoyable experiences a visitor remembers from a zoo experience is watching the incredible gymnastic skill and daring of young chimpanzees. To encourage the proper development of muscle and motor skills and to keep adults physically fit and mentally stimulated, zoos put climbing poles, ropes, towers, hammocks of rope or plastic, and various other objects in the enclosure and night quarters. The chimpanzees frequently invent new acrobatic uses for these objects that delight zoo visitors. Adult chimpanzees, especially large adult males, display a great deal of patience and interest in these pesky youngsters wanting to play games, like wrestle, tickle and poke. They engage the youngsters in wild bouts of chase high up in tall enclosures, jumping and climbing wildly from structure to structure while grinning with joy.


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Chimpanzee Learning Cards

A.

ChimpanZoo Learning Cards
1.
Origins and Habitat of Chimpanzees

2.

Chimpanzee Social Groups
3.
Chimpanzees Living in Zoos
4.
Infancy and Childhood
5.
Chimpanzee Adolescence and Gender Specific Roles
6.
The Importance of Mothering
7.
Mothering and Play
8.
Play
9.
Depression
10.
Dominance Displays
11.
Submission
12.
Contact
13.
Grooming
14.
Food
15.
Territorial Behavior
16.
Chimpanzees Are a Lot Like Us
17.
Communication
18.
Chimpanzees Are Individuals
19.
Mike's Ingenious Idea
20.
Mike (1938-1975)
21.
Mike the Alpha Male
22.
The Human Threat to Wild Chimpanzees
23.
Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE
24.
The Jane Goodall Institute
25. Books by Jane Goodall
26. Bibliography

 

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