Chimpanzee nests and human evolution

You will hear a researcher talking about how studying the beds made by chimpanzees can help us to understand how modern humans evolved.


Answer the questions as you listen.

Write NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS for each answer.
  1. Read through the questions and try to predict answers.
  2. Listen and fill gaps in the text with suitable words or phrases.
  3. Click (or touch) 'Check your answers'.
  • Feedback colours: Correct - Incorrect - Not answered
  • After submitting answers a link to an answer key will appear at the bottom of the page. Clicking highlighted words in this key will reveal the location of the answer in the tapescript.
  • This activity includes 10 questions.

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Comparing human and chimpanzee homes

Inuit homes Chinese homes Chimpanzee homes
Built to be strong in the Allow in drafts during hot weather Also change sleeping spaces in response to changes in

Scientists learn from chimpanzees by..

  • examining fossil remains.
  • observing chimpanzee .
  • observing material remains from recent activity.

Studying the bed construction among species reveals that..

  • are constructed both above and below ground
  • the quality of a bowerbird nest reflects the quality of its male builder
  • great apes make new nests, or , every night
  • chimpanzee nest-building requires builders to bend and break branches in sequence
  • chimpanzees have to learn how to build good nests – it is not only an skill

How overnight weather affects chimpanzee bed construction

cool weather wet weather windy weather
nests more broken branches for support nests with larger supports

Bed construction and evolution

Permanent homes appeared around years ago, but these would have been impossible without bed-building skills developed by human ancestors. Studying the nests made by our earlier ancestors and by modern chimpanzees gives us a critical into how we evolved as modern humans.

Comparing human and chimpanzee homes

Inuit homes Chinese homes Chimpanzee homes
Built to be strong in the winter (1) Allow in drafts during hot weather Also change sleeping spaces in response to changes in temperature (2)

Scientists learn from chimpanzees by..

  • examining fossil remains.
  • observing chimpanzee behaviour/behavior (3).
  • observing material remains from recent activity.

Studying the bed construction among species reveals that..

  • termite mounds (4) are constructed both above and below ground
  • the quality of a bowerbird nest reflects the quality of its male builder
  • great apes make new nests, or sleeping platforms (5), every night
  • chimpanzee nest-building requires builders to bend and break branches in sequence
  • chimpanzees have to learn how to build good nests – it is not only an instinctive (6) skill

How overnight weather affects chimpanzee bed construction

cool weather wet weather windy weather
thicker (7) nests more broken branches for support deeper (8) nests with larger supports

Bed construction and evolution

Permanent homes appeared around 2 million/two million/2m (9) years ago, but these would have been impossible without bed-building skills developed by human ancestors. Studying the nests made by our earlier ancestors and by modern chimpanzees gives us a critical insight (10) into how we evolved as modern humans.

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