Chimpanzees, sometimes called chimps for short, are common ape species from the genus Pan, originating from the forests around the Congo River. The mighty river also creates the boundary that sets apart the two species of chimpanzee, Pan paniscus or the Bonobo, which inhabits the forests on the eastern side of the Congo, and Pan troglodytes or the Common chimpanzee, which inhabits the forests on the western side, stretching out to Central Africa.
Many movies have shown chimps as one of the main actors. In 1987, ProjectX (not to be confused with the crazy party flick), showed how humans tried to teach chimpanzees how to use sign language as a means of communication. The movie also showed many unethical practices used by animal research laboratories and testing centers.
Another famous chimp would be Michel Jackson’s pet chimpanzee, Bubbles. He was known to walk around Neverland Ranch, entertaining guests and accompanying Michael around. He was also very pampered by his master. Many animal rights activists saw Bubbles as a victim of animal abuse, protesting for the chimp to be taken out of the ranch and kept in a more suitable environment.
Another famous chimp that many saw on TV worldwide would be Sam. Sam is the chimpanzee who plays Bear, the chimp in the popular TV series BJ &The Bear. Sam actually became very close to his human co-star, Greg Evigan, and would even protect him during fight scenes.
Since they are very much like us, many experiments have been done on chimps to trace down our evolutionary roots. A common chimp basically has the mind of a 5 year old child, very curious and playful. Domesticated chimps interact with humans very well, but in the wild, they can get very aggressive.