Researchers from South Africa’s Wits University and the University of Bern found that while most mammals use the so-called dog-paddle to maneuver in water, the apes learned how to swim by using a combined breaststroke and “frog kick” technique.
Writing in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Renato Bender and Nicole Bender say that primates’ ancient adaption to forest life may have caused the difference in swimming style.
“We were astounded when Cooper the chimpanzee kept diving under the water in a swimming pool in Missouri, and seemed to be enjoying it,“ said Nicole Bender.
The orangutan Suryia, who was filmed in a private zoo in South Carolina, also possesses the rare ability to swim and dive.
“It was very surprising behavior for an animal that is thought to be very afraid of water,” said Renato Bender.
Both of the subject animals were raised by humans.
Photo: Renato Bender