The death of 80-year-old Cheetah the Chimp, the famous co-star of Tarzan movies from the 1930s, is another reminder of how similar these intelligent apes are to human beings.
According to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy (OPC), chimpanzees and humans share about 98.6 percent of genetic DNA.
However, it appears that Cheetah enjoyed an unusually long life for one of his breed.
“The life expectancy for a chimpanzee is between 40 and 50 years in the wild and around 60 years in captivity,” OPC stated.
Thus, Cheetah lived about two decades beyond what would be considered typical.
Last year, another famous chimp passed away. But Charlie the Smoking Chimpanzee (who lived in a zoo in South Africa) was only about 52. Of course, his tobacco habit likely cut down his lifespan.
Gregoire, a chimpanzee who became associated with famed naturalist Jane Goodall, died at the age of 66 about three years ago. He was believed to be the eldest chimp in Africa.
Other apes appear to have shorter life expectancies than chimps.
According to enchantedlearning.com, gorillas can live up to 50 years in captivity, but only about 35 in the wild.
In September 2008, Jenny, a 55-year-old female gorilla at the Dallas zoo in Texas who was believed to be the oldest gorilla in the world, passed away.
The numbers are roughly similar for orangutans.