They use tools, have rudimentary language and star in TV commercials moving pianos and drinking cups of tea, but now Apes are about to be given equal top billing on the evolutionary ladder with us humans by being granted human rights.
Spain's parliament is set to approve a new law giving the right to life and freedom to our closest relatives making it the first time any national parliament has issued human rights to non-humans but even more surprising is that this is happening in Spain where animal welfare usually includes throwing goats off church roofs and torturing bulls.
Interestingly scientists did originally place apes next to humans under the genus Homo but this proved controversial to the church and apes were pushed out into their own sub human genus, Pan.
Persuaded by the discovery that we share 98%-99% of our DNA with Apes which is closer than the relationship between donkeys and horses, New Zealand and Great Britain granted great apes rights as 'non-human hominids' with legal protection from animal experimentation, torture and slavery.
There have been growing calls for chimps and humans to be brought together under the same umbrella genus again but the question is what is the criteria that makes us humans and them apes?
We both have the ability to think, communicate, learn, use tools, share major blood groups, suffer the same diseases and viruses, feel emotions, dream, anticipate the future, show empathy and researchers in Japan discovered that chimps are better at numerical memory tests then humans.
It is hard to find a single redeeming quality that humans have that Apes don't share with us and to find exactly what sets us apart and makes us deserve a genus to ourselves because in the grand scheme of things, it seems we are as near damned identical as it is possible to be.