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WATCH: Scientists observe apes swimming for first time

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    Digital writers

    Sunday, August 25, 2013, 9:51 AM -

    For first time, researchers have documented apes swimming -- a long noted behaviour thought to be impossible by extant hominoids. 

    Research team Renato and Nicole Bender are behind the study. and released this video of a chimpanzee named Cooper and orangutan named Suryia swimming in a pool, just like humans. 

    The scientists say that although swimming is widespread among some monkey species, the act has never been observed in wild apes who were believed to be unable to cross a deep water body. 

    "We were extremely surprised when the chimp, Cooper, dived repeatedly into a swimming pool in Missouri and seemed to feel very comfortable," Renato Bender, a researcher at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, said in a statement. "It was very surprising behavior for an animal that is thought to be very afraid of water." 

    The team noted that the Suryia used movements similar to the humans breaststroke 'frog kick', whilst Cooper used both legs at once, Suryia used them alternately to swim. 

    To learn more about Renato and Nicole Bender's research, visit

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