Science Questions

Why are there apes in the zoo?

Sun, 4th Nov 2007

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Question

John asked:

Why are there apes in the zoo? Why does one ape decide, ĎI fancy being a man,í and another genus of ape says, ĎIím quite happy being an ape'?

Answer

Essentially, all of the apes have evolved separately. We separated from chimpanzees somewhere about 5 million years ago and weíve all evolved in our own different ways since then. Itís quite an interesting question that why are some in the zoo and others arenít and I guess that doesnít say much about us as a species. If we found a hobbit today and put that in the zoo it would be quite an interesting one. But itís not just evolution by anatomy as well. Thereís research showing that some groups of chimpanzees in Africa have actually developed the use of stone tools several thousand years ago. So thereís a stone tool age for chimps.

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