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Western chimpanzee

  (Redirected from West African chimpanzee)

The western chimpanzee, or West African chimpanzee,[2] (Pan troglodytes verus) is a subspecies of the common chimpanzee. It inhabits western Africa, mainly in Côte d'Ivoire and Guinea but with populations in surrounding countries.

Western chimpanzee[1]
Voa Guinea chimpanzee picking 30jan08.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Suborder: Haplorhini
Infraorder: Simiiformes
Family: Hominidae
Subfamily: Homininae
Tribe: Hominini
Genus: Pan
P. t. verus
Trinomial name
Pan troglodytes verus
Schwarz, 1934
Pan troglodytes verus area.png


The taxonomical genus Pan is derived from the Greek god of fields, groves, and wooded glens, Pan. The species name troglodytes is Greek for 'cave-dweller', and was coined by Johann Friedrich Blumenbach in his Handbuch der Naturgeschichte (Handbook of Natural History) published in 1779. Verus is Latin for 'true', and was given to this subspecies in 1934 by Ernst Schwarz.[3] Originally Schwarz classified it as Pan satyrus verus.[3]


The western chimpanzee is a subspecies of the common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), along with the central chimpanzee (P. t. troglodytes), the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee (P. t. ellioti), and the eastern chimpanzee (P. t. schweinfurthii).[4] They became genetically different from other chimpanzee subspecies approximately 500,000 years ago.[5]

Conservation statusEdit

The IUCN lists the western chimpanzee as a critically endangered species on their Red List of Threatened Species.[2] There are an estimated 21,300 to 55,600 individuals in the wild.[2] The primary threat to the western chimpanzee is habitat loss,[2] although it is also killed for bushmeat.[1]

Distribution and habitatEdit

The population of the western chimpanzee once spanned from southern Senegal all the way east to the Niger River.[2][6] Today, the largest populations are found in Côte d'Ivoire[6] and in Guinea.[2] Other populations survive in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea-Bissau. Relict populations live in Ghana, Senegal, and Mali.[6] The subspecies is extinct in the wild in the Gambia, and possibly Benin, Burkina Faso, and Togo.[2][6]


A western chimpanzee using a wooden spear to hunt a Senegal bushbaby inside the branch, as his adolescent brother observes.

Diet and huntingEdit

Male and female western chimpanzees differ in their prey. In Fongoli, Senegal, Senegal bushbabies account for 75% of females' prey and 47% of the males'. While males will prey more on monkeys, such as green monkeys (27%) and Guinea baboons (18%), only males were observed to hunt patas monkeys and only females were observed to hunt banded mongooses. Both will occasionally hunt bushbucks, preferring fawns, when given the chance. Adult, adolescent, and juvenile females are slightly more likely to hunt with tools than males of the same age group.[7]

Unique behaviorsEdit

Western chimpanzees have unique behaviors never observed in any of the other subspecies of the chimpanzee. They make wooden spears to hunt other primates, use caves as homes, share plant foods with each other, and travel and forage during the night. They also submerge themselves in water and play in it to stay cool in the oppressive heat.[5][8][9]


Western chimpanzees are the most genetically differentiated and homozygous subspecies of the common chimpanzee.[10]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Western chimpanzee". World Wide Fund for Nature. 29 May 2007. Retrieved 9 March 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Humle, T., Boesch, C., Campbell, G., Junker, J., Koops, K., Kuehl, H. & Sop, T. "Pan troglodytes ssp. verus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016. 15935. Retrieved 27 September 2016.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b Angela Meder (December 1995). "Men who named the African apes". Gorilla Journal. Germany (11). Retrieved 9 March 2009.
  4. ^ Hof, Jutta; Sommer, Volker: Apes Like Us: Portraits of a Kinship, Edition Panorama , Mannheim 2010, ISBN 978-3-89823-435-1, p. 114.
  5. ^ a b Last, Cadell (19 May 1980). "Are Western Chimpanzees a New Species of Pan? | Guest Blog, Scientific American Blog Network". Retrieved 13 December 2012.
  6. ^ a b c d "Western chimpanzee - Population & Distribution". World Wide Fund for Nature. 1 June 2007. Archived from the original on 25 April 2009. Retrieved 9 March 2009.
  7. ^ Pruetz, J. D.; Bertolani, P.; Ontl, K. Boyer; Lindshield, S.; Shelley, M.; Wessling, E. G. (15 April 2015). "New evidence on the tool-assisted hunting exhibited by chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) in a savannah habitat at Fongoli, Sénégal". Royal Society Open Science. Royal Society Publishing. doi:10.1098/rsos.140507. PMC 4448863. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  8. ^ "Almost Human - National Geographic Magazine". 15 May 2012. Retrieved 13 December 2012.
  9. ^ National Geographic video footage of behavior
  10. ^

External linksEdit