Apes Can Swim like Humans Do, Researchers Find

Footage shows apes using a kind of breaststroke to move about in water

By on August 15th, 2013 20:56 GMT

First of its kind video-based observation indicates that, unlike most other land mammals, apes swim using a kind of breaststroke.

Until now, it was believed that apes were unable to swim and that, should they venture into deep water, it would not take long before they drowned.

However, a chimpanzee and an orangutan living in the US disprove this theory.

These apes have been raised and looked after by humans, and have learned not only how to swim, but also how to dive.

What's interesting is that neither of these apes resorts to the usual dog-paddle stroke that terrestrial mammals typically rely on when having to move through the water.

On the contrary, they swim and dive in a manner shockingly similar to that of humans. Check out the video below to see them show off their swimming and diving skills.

As explained on the official website for University of Witwatersrand, the chimpanzee's name is Cooper.

The animal was filmed swimming and diving in a pool in Missouri, and appeared oddly at ease while performing these actions.

Surya, the orangutan, was filmed in a zoo in South Carolina. The researchers say this ape can swim up to 12 meters (almost 40 feet) at a time.

By the looks it, the apes both move their legs in a way strikingly similar to the human “frog kick.”

Cooper prefers to move its hind legs synchronously. Surya, on the other hand, moves them alternatively.

Researchers suspect that, all things considered, humans and apes swim and dive in a similar manner due to the fact that both species display anatomical particularities brought about by an adaptation to an arboreal life.

“We did find other well-documented cases of swimming and diving apes, but Cooper and Suryia are the only ones we were able to film.”

“We still do not know when the ancestors of humans began to swim and dive regularly. This issue is becoming more and more the focus of research. There is still much to explore,” researchers Renato and Nicole Bender wished to stress.

Apes can swim and dive, footage proves
   Apes can swim and dive, footage proves
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