The Story Of Wild Animals:
Story Of The Prairie Dog
Story Of The Wild Boar
Story Of The Porcupine
Story Of The Hippopotamus
Story Of The Jackal
Story Of The Tapir
Story Of The Monkey
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( Originally Published Early 1900's )
The chimpanzee is a native of Western Africa, and is common on the banks of the Gambia and in Congo. It is also found on the peninsula of Malacca and several islands of the Indian ocean. Large bands of these formidable apes congregate together and unite in repelling an invader, which they do with such fury and courage that even the dreaded elephant and lion are driven from their haunts by their united efforts. They live principally on the ground, and, as the name imports, spend much of their time in caves and under rocks. Their height is from four to five feet, but they are said not to reach this growth until nine or ten years of age.
That the chimpanzee was known in Europe as far back as 1598 is proved by an account brought back from the Congo by a Portuguese sailor, named Eduardo Lopez. In 1613 there appeared the history of the wanderings of an English sailor, named Andrew Battei, in the lower part of Guinea, in 1590, who appears to have heard of or seen, not only the chimpanzee, which he designates the Enjocko, but likewise the gorilla,- which he calls the pongo. Hence the name Jocko so generally given to individuals of the monkey tribe.
In captivity, chimpanzees, when in health, are gentle, intelligent, and affectionate, readily learning to feed themselves with a spoon, or to drink out of a glass or cup. Unfortunately, however, their span of life in this country is but brief. The longest period that a chimpanzee has hitherto lived in a zoological garden at London is eight years; "Sally," who died in 1891, having been kept there for that time. The description by Dr. J. G. Romanes of the mental power of "Sally" is full of interest. This account was written after the creature had been nearly six years in the London Zoological Gardens. The intelligence of "Sally" is compared by Dr. Romanes to that of a child a few months before emerging from the period of infancy, and is thus far higher than that of any other mammal (exclusive of man). In spite, however, of this relatively high degree of intelligence, the creature's power of making vocal replies to her keepers, or those with whom she was brought into contact, were of the most limited kind. Such replies were, indeed, restricted to three peculiar grunting noises. One of these indicated assent or affirmation; another, of very similar intonation, denoted refusal or distrust; while the third, and totally different intonation, was used to express thanks or recognition of favors. In disposition "Sally" was, like many of her sex, apt to be capricious and uncertain; although, on the whole, she was good-humored and fond of her keepers, with whom she was never tired of a kind of bantering play.
It has always been a matter of surprise that no large man-like ape now inhabits the dense tropical forests of India or Burma, which would appear to be just as suitable 'or these creatures as are those of Borneo or Equatorial Africa. The discovery in India of a jaw of a large ape apparently belonging to the same genus as the chimpanzee shows us, however, that large man-like apes must have once roamed over the plains of India. Why chimpanzees, together with hippopotami and giraffes, which are likewise found fossil in India but are now confined to, Africa, should have totally disappeared from the former country, Is, however, one of those puzzling problems connected with the distribution of animals which we have but little hope of answering satisfactorily.