By Tom Gillespie @TomGillespie1

A PLAYFUL bonobo pulls off a handstand as it cools off in a stream on a scorching hot day

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The boisterous primate shows off some gymnastics

A PLAYFUL bonobo pulls off a handstand as it cools off in a stream on a scorching hot day

The adolescent ape was pictured executing its water aerobics in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Primatologist Emilie Genty, who has studied ape communication and cognition for more than a decade, said: “This bonobo was playing in a stream on a hot day. 

"He was running around, somersaulting, and trying out headstands several times in a row.

“Bonobos are our closest relative in the animal kingdom.

“They show a lot of behaviours that are strikingly similar to ours."

The 36-year-old French primate expert took the photo while conducting field research at the Lola Ya Bonobo sanctuary in April 2012.

The image has only just surfaced after Emilie decided to share it on social media.

She added: “I was a bit surprised by the behaviour but not so much because, as mentioned earlier, bonobos are a very playful species.

“I am generally very impressed by their proximity to us, looking at them in their daily life is sometimes like looking in a mirror.”