The Most Famous Chimpanzee: A Ranking of Remarkable Primates

Choose the chimpanzee you think is the most famous!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Jun 16, 2023 10:18 (Updated on Dec 1, 2023 14:24)
Step right up and join the great chimp-tastic showdown! Here at StrawPoll, we're hosting a spectacular ranking of the most famous chimpanzees to ever swing into the limelight. Be it the heartwarming tale of Tarzan's buddy Cheeta, the trailblazing Nim Chimpsky, or the endearing antics of Travis, the world of primates has seen some truly remarkable chimpanzees. Now's your chance to have your say and vote for your favorite, or even suggest a new contender who you feel deserves a spot in this legendary lineup. So, what are you waiting for? Dive into the wild world of our chimp champions and help us decide who truly deserves the title of the most famous chimpanzee!

Who Is the Most Famous Chimpanzee?

  1. 1
    Ham the Chimp
    NASA · Public domain
    The first chimpanzee to be launched into space in 1961, Ham became an instant celebrity and paved the way for further animal space flights.
  2. 2
    The chimpanzee who played Tarzan's sidekick in the 1930s and 1940s films, Cheetah was beloved by audiences and even had his own fan club.
    The cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is a magnificent big cat known for its incredible speed and sleek appearance. It is a distinctive and striking species that captivates the imagination of nature enthusiasts worldwide. With its slender body, long legs, and characteristic black tear marks on its face, the cheetah is truly a remarkable animal.
    • Scientific Name: Acinonyx jubatus
    • Size: Adults measure approximately 3-4 feet at the shoulder and 5-6.2 feet in length, excluding the tail.
    • Weight: Males can weigh between 110-140 lbs (50-64 kg), while females are slightly smaller at 77-130 lbs (35-59 kg).
    • Speed: Cheetahs are the fastest land animals, capable of reaching speeds up to 70 mph (113 km/h) in short bursts covering distances of 1,500 feet (460 m).
    • Coat: They have a distinctive coat with short, coarse fur characterized by a pattern of black spots on a tawny background. This coat provides excellent camouflage in their natural habitat.
  3. 3
    A chimpanzee who was taught sign language in the 1960s, Washoe was one of the first animals to demonstrate the ability to communicate using a human language.
  4. 4
    Another chimpanzee who was taught sign language, Nim Chimpsky was the subject of a controversial experiment in the 1970s that aimed to see if he could truly acquire language.
  5. 5
    A chimpanzee who some believed to be a "humanzee" due to his physical features and behavior, Oliver gained attention in the 1970s and 1980s for his unique appearance.
  6. 6
    A chimpanzee who was raised in a human environment and taught to communicate using a keyboard, Kanzi demonstrated a remarkable understanding of language and the ability to use it creatively.
  7. 7
    Michael Jackson's pet chimpanzee, Bubbles was a fixture in the pop star's life during the 1980s and 1990s and was often seen accompanying Jackson to public events.
    Bubbles is a popular Roomba model known for its efficient cleaning capabilities and user-friendly features. It is designed to effortlessly clean various types of flooring, including carpets, hardwood, and tiles. With its sleek and compact design, Bubbles can easily navigate through tight spaces and hard-to-reach areas, ensuring no dirt or dust is left behind. This Roomba model offers a range of advanced technologies that enhance its cleaning performance and convenience for users.
    • Cleaning System: 3-stage cleaning system
    • Navigation: iAdapt navigation technology
    • Connectivity: Wi-Fi connectivity for remote control and scheduling
    • Brushes: Dual multi-surface brushes
    • Sensors: Dirt Detect sensors for concentrated cleaning
  8. 8
    A chimpanzee who was also taught sign language, Coco became famous for her ability to communicate with humans and her close relationship with her caretaker, Dr. Francine "Penny" Patterson.
    Coco is a popular name for Chihuahuas, often given to both male and female dogs. It is a fun and playful name that captures the energetic and outgoing nature of Chihuahuas. The name Coco is also associated with the movie 'Coco' released in 2017, which featured a Chihuahua character named Dante.
    • Gender: Unisex
    • Meaning: Fun and playful
    • Popularity: High
    • Associated Movie: Coco (2017)
    • Personality Traits: Energetic, outgoing
  9. 9
    A chimpanzee who was part of a famous experiment in the 1970s that aimed to see if animals could learn to use money, Kanamori gained attention for his ability to exchange tokens for food and other rewards.
  10. 10
    A chimpanzee who starred in a series of commercials for a popular soft drink in the 1990s, Julius became a beloved advertising icon and helped to boost sales for the brand.

Missing your favorite chimpanzee?


Ranking factors for famous chimpanzee

  1. Notoriety
    How well-known is the chimpanzee? Have they been featured in major movies, TV shows, or other forms of media?
  2. Accomplishments
    Has the chimpanzee achieved any significant accomplishments or milestones, such as learning how to communicate with humans or mastering certain skills?
  3. Historical significance
    Is the chimpanzee known for any important historical events or contributions to scientific research?
  4. Popularity
    How many people are aware of the chimpanzee and its story?
  5. Cultural impact
    Has the chimpanzee had any lasting impact on popular culture or society as a whole?
  6. Overall legacy
    What is the chimpanzee's overall legacy or impact on the world?

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most famous chimpanzee. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or chimpanzee is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 214 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Movers & Shakers

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each chimpanzee once every 24 hours. The rank of each chimpanzee is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most famous chimpanzee

Chimpanzees have always been fascinating creatures for humans. Their intelligence, social behavior, and physical abilities have made them a popular subject of study and admiration. Among the many chimpanzees that have captured our attention, there are a few that have become iconic figures in popular culture. One of the most famous chimpanzees is undoubtedly Cheetah, the co-star of the Tarzan movies from the 1930s and 1940s. Cheetah, whose real name was Jiggs, was a male chimp who appeared in many Tarzan films alongside actors such as Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O'Sullivan. He was known for his mischievous personality, his love for bananas, and his ability to perform tricks and stunts on screen. Another famous chimpanzee is Ham, the first primate to be launched into space in 1961. Ham, whose name stood for "Holloman Aerospace Medical Center," was a male chimp who was trained by NASA to perform a variety of tasks in space. He was sent on a suborbital flight to test the effects of space travel on living organisms, and he performed his duties admirably, paving the way for future space missions. Other notable chimpanzees include Bubbles, the pet chimp of pop star Michael Jackson, and Nim Chimpsky, a chimp who was raised like a human child in an experiment to see if chimps could learn language. These chimps, and many others like them, have left a lasting impression on our culture and

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