Pan Paniscus

Kingdom: Animalia

The Kingdom Animalia features organisms that are:

Additionally, they are motile (able to move by themselves) during some stage of their life, and reproduce sexually.

Phylum: Chordata

The main differentiating feature of Chordates compared to animals from other phyla is the possession of a notochord while it is an embryo.

The notochord is a rigid rod structure which provides structual support for growth and development, as well as carry signaling cues for the embryo.

Depending on the chordate, it can be replaced by a series of bones, forming a vertebral column (spine). [1]

Class: Mammalia

Mammals are seperated from other vertebrates and chordata by their:

Neocortex in the Brain


Three Middle Ear Bones

Mammary Glands (Care for young)

Many of the largest animals on Earth are mammals.

Order: Primate

Seperating primates from other mammals are their:

Nails rather than claws or hooves

Specialized nerves in hands and feet (Meissner's corpuscles)

These nerves allows increased sensitivity to touch.

They are best adapted to vibrations between 10-50 Hz. [2]

Large brain to body mass ratio

Examples: Homoinoidea (Superfamily)

Examples: Lemurs (Suborder)

Family: Hominidae

Hominidae are seperated from other primates due to their:

They are also known as Great Apes. [3]

As well, Hominidae have complex cognitive functions, being able to recognize themselves in a mirror.

Hominidae are the only known animals (other than the bottlenose dolphin) to be able to do this. [3]

Orangutan (Pongo Pygmaeus)

Western Lowland Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla)

The different types of Hominidae

Genus: Pan

There are only two species in the genus Pan:

Chimpanzee (Pan Troglodytes)

Bonobo (Pan Paniscus)

Bonobos and chimpanzees are the closest living relative to humans. [4]

They are more social than the other great apes, with many individual bonds in a large population. [5]

In addition to social development, the members of the genus Pan possess some of the largest brains of any primate.

They are able to construct tools and use them to obtain food, or for social purposes.

Chimpanzees and Bonobos have been shown to be able to understand symbols, human speech, and numbers, to a simple degree.

They also have advanced hunting strategies requiring lots of coordination and a sense of rank, and therefore command. [5][6]

Species: Paniscus

Bonobos are usually distinguished by their:

Relatively Long Legs

Pink Lips and Dark Face

Long, Parted hair

In comparison to chimpanzees, Bonobos are generally smaller, less aggressive, and are matriarchal (female-dominated), rather than male-dominated.

Bonobos generally follow a “Make love, not war” mentality, with little fighting, and lots of sexual activity. [7]

The Importance of Taxonomy

Taxonomy is the classifying of organisms into groups (called taxa) based on shared characteristics.

Modern taxonomy is based on the work of Carl Linnaeus.

He created a ranked hierarchy, with each group down the hiearchy containing less and less organisms. [8]

Most general

Most specific

These classifications can be further split when necessary.






A species is able to produce viable offspring with another member of a species.

Viable offspring means that the offspring can reproduce.

Organisms are generally named using their genus followed by their species.

This method of naming is called binomial nomenclature.

Example: Human ➡ Homo Sapiens

Some organisms require a subspecies name, such as the Domestic Dog (Canine Lupus Familiarus).

This is in order to differentiate it from other members of the Canine Lupus species, such as the Eurasian Wolf (Canine Lupus Lupus).

Unknown organisms are usually identified via a dichotomous key.

Taxonomy is especially important in the study of biodiversity.

Without a way of differentiating one species from another, it is impossible to make a correct analysis about the diversity of species in an area.

By extension, taxonomy also helps identify and combat invasive species.

As our planet faces more and more challenges in the on-going biodiversity crisis, it's crucial that we are able to identify different species accurately.

Taxonomy can also tell us the releationships between different organisms.

Closely related organisms will share many of the same taxa, only differing at a very specific rank (e.g. Genus, or Family).

For example, we (humans) share 99% of our DNA with Bonobos. [6]

By analysing their respective classifications, we see that they share the same taxa, from family (Hominidae) and up, only differing at the Genus level.

These relationships can also be used as a hint towards evolutionary links.

All part of the family Hominidae, we all share a common ancestor.

Overall, taxonomy is a necessary science in biology.

It can reveal to us otherwise hidden relationships between different organisms, and also provides us with a method of identifying these organisms.

The End.