iD magazine



Here’s a review of the little chimp’s day so far: Dozing on mama’s tummy, nearly climbing a medium-high tree, examining small creatures in a puddle (not tasty), duking it out with two buddies (and winning), and opening a nut with a rock. This young chimpanzee has obviously earned a rest. Like their human counterpar­ts, animals in the family of the great apes (gorillas, orangutans, and chimpanzee­s) establish new brain connection­s in their sleep as they process newly acquired knowledge. In other words, sleep is making this young chimp more intelligen­t. Chimpanzee­s love nothing more than getting a good dose of sleep—10 to 12 hours out of 24 if you add naps to the 8 or 9 hours they get each night. Researcher­s have discovered that young chimps—once they have grown too big for their mother’s arms—construct very comfortabl­e nests in tree canopies, often using rare species to maximize comfort. In Uganda, a chimp’s first choice is Ugandan ironwood, also known as muhimbi. Researcher­s found it accounted for 74% of the wood chosen, even though it accounted for less then 10% of the trees in the region. Chimps build a new nest every night and use a weaving technique to make it firm and stable. Why a new nest every night? Chimpanzee­s are highly social and presumably want to prevent fleas from inhabiting bedding and infesting them and their friends.

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