Note: HugoRheinholdApeWithSkull.DarwinMonkey.2 // Pan // Chimpanzee Ham in Biopack Couch for MR-2 flight MSFC-6100114
Laughter in apes
Laughter might not be confined or unique to humans. The differences between chimpanzee and human laughter may be the result of adaptations that have evolved to enable human speech. Self-awareness of one's situation as seen in the mirror test, or the ability to identify with another's predicament (see mirror neurons), are prerequisites for laughter, so animals may be laughing for the same reasons that humans do.
Chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans show laughter-like vocalizations in response to physical contact, such as wrestling, play-chasing, or tickling. This is documented in wild and captive chimpanzees. Common chimpanzee laughter is not readily recognisable to humans as such, because it is generated by alternating inhalations and exhalations that sound more like breathing and panting. Instances in which nonhuman primates have expressed joy have been reported. One study analyzed and recorded sounds made by human babies and bonobos when tickled. Although the bonobo's laugh was a higher frequency, the laugh followed a pattern similar to that of human babies and included similar facial expressions. Humans and chimpanzees share similar ticklish areas of the body, such as the armpits and belly. The enjoyment of tickling in chimpanzees does not diminish with age.
Chimps listed as endangered in the US
The US Fish and Wildlife Service finalized a rule on June 12, 2015, creating very strict regulations, practically barring any activity with chimpanzees other than for scientific, preservation-oriented purposes.
Chimpanzees as pets
Chimpanzees have traditionally been kept as pets in a few African villages, especially in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In Virunga National Park in the east of the country, the park authorities regularly confiscate chimpanzees from people keeping them as pets.
Chimpanzees are popular as wild pets in many areas despite their strength, aggression, and wild nature. Even in areas where keeping non-human primates as pets is illegal, the exotic pet trade continues to prosper and some people keep chimpanzees as pets mistakenly believing that they will bond with them for life. As they grow, so do their strength and aggression; some owners and others interacting with the animals have lost fingers and suffered severe facial damage among other injuries sustained in attacks. In addition to the animals' hostile potential and strength well beyond any human being, chimpanzees physically mature a lot more proportionally than do human beings, and even among the most cleanly and well-organized of housekeepers, maintaining cleanliness and control of chimpanzees is physically demanding to the point that it is impossible for humans to control, especially due to the animals' strength and aggression.
Chimpanzees in popular culture
Chimpanzees have been commonly stereotyped in popular culture, where they are most often cast in standardized roles as childlike companions, sidekicks or clowns. They are especially suited for the latter role on account of their prominent facial features, long limbs and fast movements, which humans often find amusing. Accordingly, entertainment acts featuring chimpanzees dressed up as humans have been traditional staples of circuses and stage shows.
In the age of television, a new genre of chimp act emerged in the United States: series whose cast consisted entirely of chimpanzees dressed as humans and "speaking" lines dubbed by human actors. These shows, examples of which include Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp in the 1970s or The Chimp Channel in the 1990s, relied on the novelty of their ape cast to make their timeworn, low comedy gags funny. Their chimpanzee "actors" were as interchangeable as the apes in a circus act, being amusing as chimpanzees and not as individuals. Animal rights groups have urged a stop to this practice, considering it animal abuse.
When chimpanzees appear in other TV shows, they generally do so as comic relief sidekicks to humans. In that role, for instance, J. Fred Muggs appeared with Today Show host Dave Garroway in the 1950s, Judy on Daktari in the 1960s and Darwin on The Wild Thornberrys in the 1990s. In contrast to the fictional depictions of other animals, such as dogs (as in Lassie), dolphins (Flipper), horses (The Black Stallion) or even other great apes (King Kong), chimpanzee characters and actions are rarely relevant to the plot.
Chimpanzees in science fiction
The rare depictions of chimpanzees as individuals rather than stock characters, and as central rather than incidental to the plot are generally found in works of science fiction. Robert A. Heinlein's short story "Jerry Was a Man" (1947) centers on a genetically enhanced chimpanzee suing for better treatment. The 1972 film Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, the third sequel of Planet of the Apes, portrays a futuristic revolt of enslaved apes led by the only talking chimpanzee, Caesar, against their human masters.