Have you seen Rise of the Planet of the Apes? If so, how did you feel about it? I ask because I'm studying to be an Evolutionary Anthropologist and I found myself watching the film through a scientific view point rather than just really enjoying the film haha [although I did enjoy it].
I’ve only seen the end half - from when Tom Felton gets electrocuted, so I kinda missed most of the movie science bit, and even then, I wasn’t paying much attention… I thought what I did see was interesting, though. I liked that the primates, apart from the whole talking thing, were pretty accurate. Their locomotion, terrestrially and arboreally, was pretty realistic. Other than that, I can’t really comment of the film properly; I need to watch it again, I think!
It was interesting that we, as humans, were testing on other life forms for our own gains, and when it backfired upon us, we end up trying to kill and blame them, which is exactly what we do on a day to day basis. It’s something us humans are pretty good at. We will insist on destroying habitats, and murdering and torturing other species. We seem to think it is our inherent right to use animals, in this case, primates, to our own advantage, and we place ourselves on pedestals above every other species.
I liked that, for once, the film was actually saying, hang on…this isn’t right. While it is pretty unlikely that chimps develop the ability to vocalise words (although, of course, they can use and understand basic human languages, as I’m sure you know) and decide to break out and go on a rampage, it was certainly an interesting point. For once, humans are knocked down, and, for once, we got what we deserved.
I initially didn’t want to watch it (see this q&a…) but it wasn’t what I expected. I thought it would all be explosions and guns and muscle men saving the day from the vicious, humanity-threatening wild beasts that have dared to defy us and break free from what we want them to do. Instead, I think, it was pretty thoughtful, relevant, accurate and fair. from comments I’ve heard about it, it has also started to make people think more about how we treat animals, especially primates, which can only be a good thing.
The Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo, is happy to announce the birth of a male White-Cheeked Gibbon on November 15. The 1-month-old infant—along with his mom, Indah; dad, Benny; and 2-year-old brother, Thani—can be seen on exhibit in the zoo’s Tropic World: Asia exhibit daily between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Since his birth, the infant has been keeping a close grip on his mom. He will stay in contact and be carried by Indah for a few more months. As he gets older, he will begin to explore the habitat on his own, become more independent, and play with his brother and dad.
All White-cheeked Gibbons are born with a blond coat matching their mother’s coat, a form of camouflage. The new male Gibbon will retain this light coloring until it begins to turn dusky when he is half a year old. By the time he reaches his first birthday, the young Gibbon will be sporting a black coat with light cheek patches, like his dad and brother. He will retain this coloration for life. Females turn black and then back to blond again, with a small patch of black on their crown, when they reach sexual maturity at around 6 to 8 years of age.
Those Lying Apes: Apes Like To Deceive, Too - But Do They Dislike Being Deceived?
Young Dandy was excitedly courting a female by, in the usual way, showing her his inspired erection, when suddenly an older and higher-ranking male appeared on the scene. For Dandy, that meant big trouble. Worse, the young male’s forbidden interest in the female was being communicated honestly by something he seemed to have little control over, an erect penis—which he quickly covered with his hands, apparently hoping thus to deceive the higher-ranking male.
But it’s not only males who deceive in order to get away with sex that is forbidden by the socially-powerful. In his book Chimpanzee Politics (1982), primatologist Frans De Waal writes of Orr, an adolescent female at Arnheim, who would scream while she was having sex. During sneaked copulations with younger males, however, her screams sometimes caught the attention of the alpha, who would do his mighty best to interrupt the couple. Eventually, Orr learned to suppress her vocalizations when mating with lower-ranking males, while she continued the habit of screaming whenever she mated with the alpha.
Competition often motivates individuals to deceive in order to get what they want, whether it’s sex, power, or food. Once at Arheim, the chimpanzees all observed the arrival of a box of grapefruit. While they were locked in their sleeping quarters, however, primatologist de Waal brought the box out into the public area and buried the grapefruit in sand. He left a small portion of each grapefruit still uncovered by the sand, just enough for a very observant chimpanzee to notice. After the fruit had been buried, the researcher walked past the chimps with the empty box, and so—understanding what that meant—when they were released from their night cages, they raced off in search of the fruit. Several rushed and scrambled right past the place where the special treats had been buried in sand, but none paused to examine that area carefully. Later on that day, however, as the chimps were relaxing during their regular afternoon siesta, a young male who had been among the group that earlier rushed past the buried grapefruit, now quietly raised himself from his relaxed sprawl, casually strolled over to where the grapefruit had been hidden—away from the gaze of his relaxing fellows—and dug out the fruit and consumed it at his leisure.
We often use deceit to cover some other moral failure, but one distinctive thing about human lying is that we understand that the lie itself is wrong. Lies confuse others, inhibit others, hurt others, and so we understand that lies are anti-social and belong on the list of anti-social moral vices. Other people usually expect the truth, after all, and when we violate their expectation, we’ve done a wrong thing that is sometimes worse than the bad behavior we were trying to conceal in the first place. That, at least, is the wisdom imparted by our mothers when they said, “I don’t mind that you took the cookie from the cookie jar half as much as I mind that you lied to me about it.”
Chimpanzees often deceive each other and their human caretakers, that much is clear, but is it also true that chimpanzees, like our own mothers, dislike being deceived? No one has thought to ask this question, and, in any case, it would be a hard one to study experimentally, so I will conclude this post with a simple story on the subject as recollected by Frans X. Plooij, a primatologist at the International Research Institute on Infant Studies in the Netherlands. (You can find this tale in PT blogger Marc Bekoff’s collection, The Smile of a Dolphin.)
Like several prominent primatologists of his generation, Plooij was first trained in field research at Jane Goodall’s research site in Tanzania, where he studied the group of chimpanzees already made famous by Goodall’s early work. As Plooij recalls, at Gombe all researchers were forbidden from interacting in any way with the chimps. The reasons for that rule were obvious. Interaction could affect the research results, so it was bad science. Interaction could also endanger the chimps, who are capable of contracting virtually every infectious human disease. Finally, it could endanger the people, both through disease transmission and also through plain physical damage, should the chimps ever appreciate how remarkably weak people are. When the chimpanzees made any attempt to interact with researchers, therefore, they were instructed, in Plooij’s words, “to act like pillars of salt.”
Plooij had spent more than a year watching and assessing the behavior of the adult female Passion and her infant Prof. At the same time, Prof’s oldest sister, Pom, could never be avoided, since she was still young enough to spend all day near her mother. The chimps weren’t usually interested in people, and the people had been instructed to act as if they were uninterested in the chimps, so all this scientific observation took place as if an invisible wall separated the watchers from the watched.
One day, however, Pom tried to reach through that invisible wall. Pom approached the young man and began stroking and poking her fingers into his hair. She was trying to groom him, which is a friendly thing to do among chimps. Plooij was astonished but also pleased. He found the sensation of Pom’s soft touch in his hair to be “wonderful,” and he was tempted to groom her in return. But, of course, that would break the rule against interaction. No, to be a proper scientist, to protect himself and the chimps, Plooij knew he had to keep that invisible wall intact, and so he acted as if nothing had changed. He remained motionless, unresponding. What else could he do?
Pom, however, continued trying to groom this stange, stubborn ape.
Plooij was now distressed, since it wasn’t clear how he could rid himself of Pom. Then he had an inspiration. He remembered how Passion had once managed to discourage a similar kind of pestering behavior by young Flint. Flint had one time been interested in touching Pom’s baby Prof. Indeed, Flint spent most of an entire day persistently approaching Passion and reaching out to touch the baby; and Passion, who seemed upset and annoyed, could only turn her back to Flint and clutch her baby defensively. In other circumstances, a mother might not put up with this sort of harassment, but Flint was the son of the socially-powerful female Flo, so Passion was probably reluctant to smack or chase away Flint because she feared an enraged mama Flo. In any case, near the end of the day, Passion finally came up with a brilliant method for getting rid of pesty Flint. She simply stood up and gazed with dramatic intensity at a distant spot, seemingly watching some especially provocative far-away event.
Flint took the bait. He began gazing into the distance as well, as if trying to figure out what Passion saw that was so interesting. Soon, Flint was moving towards the imagined event, and the second he had moved out of her line of vision, Pom, clutching Prof, just took off in the opposite direction.
So the young researcher, now remembering this clever little trick done by Passion to get rid of Flint, decided he would use the same method to get rid of pestery Pom. He pretended that he had suddenly discovered some astonishing event in the distance. He looked up, gazed intently, even moved his head a little from side to side as if focusing his sight acutely. And it worked! Soon Pom had stopped trying to groom Plooij and was looking in the same direction he was. Pom then walked tentatively a short distance toward the imagined point of interest, looked back at Plooij, who continued gazing. Finally, the young chimp decisively moved off and out of sight, headed into the forest in the direction of that imaginary event—and so the researcher was at last able to return, unimpeded, to his observations of Passion and Prof.
A short while later, though, Pom came back, marched directly up to Plooij, and slapped him sharply on the head. Then, for the remainder of the day, she pointedly avoided him.
The National Institutes of Health has placed a temporary moratorium on new studies using chimpanzees, it announced Thursday in response to a report that marks nearly all medical research on the great apes as scientifically unjustified.
“Effective immediately, NIH will not issue any new awards for chimpanzee research” as the agency puts in a place a committee to review research proposals, NIH Director Francis Collins said during a press briefing.
Chimpanzee research that does not meet rules established by the report will be phased out, Collins said. He estimated that about half of the 37 current NIH-funded chimp studies would not rise to standards proposed in Thursday’s report from theInstitute of Medicine, part of the National Academy of Sciences.
The congressionally mandated study concluded that any future studies using the great apes need to clear a “very high bar,” said Jeffrey Kahn, a bioethicist at Johns Hopkins University who chaired the report committee.
“Fewer kinds of studies will be justified based on the criteria that we set out,” Kahn said. “We’re on a trajectory of a diminishing number of chimps necessary for research.”
The report did not endorse an outright ban on chimp research but instead outlined restrictive rules for using the apes.
Chimpanzees’ similarity to humans in intelligence and emotional awareness implies “a moral cost and ethical issues” when mankind’s closest evolutionary cousin is kept captive for invasive medical research, Kahn said.
Chimpanzees are not needed for research on HIV/AIDS, cancer or nearly any other type of disease, the IOM found. After surveying the past decade of medical chimp research, the report committee concluded that only one disease might warrant further research with apes: the development of a vaccine to prevent hepatitis C.
Have you seen the newest Planet Of The Apes movie? Iv'e only seen ads, and i think i saw orangs in it... but i feel that they are much to laid back and lazy... they'd be all like 'Leave it to the chimps, i gotta nap!'
Hahaha, no actually, I haven’t. I didn’t want to watch it, because I thought it would annoy me. In the trailer, a giant gorilla jumped off a bridge, grabbed onto a helicopter, and pulled it out of the air. Shit like that would just stress me out.
Poor orangutans ): They aren’t lazy. They just don’t want to waste energy by doing pointless shit like destroying bridges and jumping on helicopters.
I know i'm getting pretty annoying with all the questions, but did you see the most recent Louis Therioux documentary? It made me so frustrated that people like those featured exist. Also, there is a place near me, which i cant call even an animal center, because its so DESPICABLE, called 'Wickid pets'... just have a look into them... i'm sure you'll feel the same. I'll probably be back here soon, ranting about something else.
Not annoying in the slightest :)
I DID see that doc, I love a bit of Louis Theroux :P The whole thing with the chimps was awful. That breeder woman…the chimps were all obviously stressed and upset, and all she could say was that they got excited sometimes.
I’ve had a quick look into ‘Wickid Pets’…they seem to be very proud of the fact that they let every single visitor parade past their animals and handle them, don’t they? That animal park I volunteered at did the same with this female lemur. She had been rejected from the troop they had there, and as a result had to be kept separately. In a tiny, tiny room. With no socialisation. One meal of about two pieces of fruit a day. Then the owner suddenly decided it would be a great idea to pin her down everyday, force a harness onto her, and have her walked around the park for 6/7 odd hours while visitors crowded round her. She would tremble and try to hide the entire time. It was heartbreaking.
You’re more than welcome to come and have a rant at anytime :)
How do you feel about the current laws (or lack of) around keeping small monkeys as pets? Do you feel it should be stopped altogether or maybe regulated more (i say more, but there are rarely things such as home checks or visits after the animal has been bought). Personally i feel that its wrong on SO many levels, but sadly i don't have enough room to rant now ): (i'm just guessing you're from the uk, sorry if your not...)
Yes, I am from the UK :)
Personally I think it’s awful. The UK market for primate pets is nowhere near what it is is say, the US, thank goodness. I can, however, see it becoming a more and more popular market. It wasn’t long ago that no one had a snake…now I myself have multiple reptiles and exotic pets as well as the usual cats and gerbils.You can just walk into any pet shop and be able to pick up a reptile. My boyfriend is a herpie and we both have enormous respect for all our animals, and they are kept in the best possible conditions. But I’m getting off topic…
The fact is, primates are not pets. Even a lot of zoos can’t keep them properly. one of the animal parks I used to volunteer at was woefully inadequate in the care of their primates, and I won’t even get started on the reptiles they ‘cared’ for. I stopped volunteering there because my comments and suggestions fell of completely deaf ears.
Most of the ‘pet’ primates are either marmosets/tamarins, capuchins, macaques, or, horrifically, chimpanzees. All of these animals are very highly social and have complex social structures in the wild. This just can’t be naturally replicated in a domestic environment. Not to mention the lack of true behaviour - only true experts can provide a primate with all the opportunities to undertake its natural behaviours. And, of course, animals like chimpanzees, particularly males, can become violent and dangerous…they are, after all, 5 times as strong as a human adult.
Then, of course, you get all the pet owners (the vast majority of primate pet owners) who dress their primates up like little dolls, feed them lollypops and cake, push them around in buggies, or drag them around in harnesses.
I’ve heard horrific stories about domestic primates that have been awfully abused (of course, all pets have the ‘capacity’ to be abused, sadly. I just don’t understand our own species and how we can be so cruel…) For example, a macaque that was strapped and tied into a laundry basket for climbing on the furniture, or a lemur who could only run in circles as it was kept in such a small cage, and hadn’t been able to even develop the proper motor skills to do anything else.
Not to mention that all these primates are forced away from their mothers, literally ripped from their bodies at a very, very young age, to feed the demand for cutie little fluffy babies. I’ve seen a UK CH4 doc about this before, where they filmed a month old (or at least very young) macaque being taken from its mother. The pain in that mother’s eyes was indescribable, and she was reaching through the bars to try and get to her baby, calling and frantically trying to get out. She would have been through this many times before (she is, after all, only a breeding machine), and she knew all to well she wouldn’t see that baby again.
My point is, the reptile trade is horrifically cruel enough, and most exotic pet owners can’t even look after the simple corn snake or bearded dragon they have. That trade is growing - my local reptile shop now stocks caimans and crocs. It won’t be long until marmosets are available, and then capuchins, and then macaques…
Primates aren’t pets. There should be laws AGAINST the primate pet trade.
A survey of locals’ eating habits by researchers from Bangor University in Wales, and the Malagasy NGO Madagasikara Voakajy showed that hunting of protected species in eastern Madagascar was increasing.
They suggested the rise in illegal hunting was the result of rapid social change, an increase in demand for meat and a decline in traditional taboos.
"When you have globalisation and outside influences, traditional cultures break down and change faster," explained co-author Julia Jones from Bangor University.
"What seems to be happening in some of the remote areas around the nation’s eastern rainforests is that a lot of legal gold mining is springing up, so people from outside are moving into the area."
Taboos play an important part in Malagasy culture, she added.
Lemurs, especially indris, have been associated with very strong taboos that traditionally ensured that the primates were not hunted.
For example, one story tells of a man who was looking for honey in the forest when he fell from a tree. Before he hit the ground, he was caught by an indri.
He was so grateful that he went back to the village and said from that moment on, no lemur was to be harmed.
Another belief is that the creatures are ancestors that became lost in the rainforests and turned themselves into lemurs in order to survive.
However, Dr Jones said that although people did not prefer to eat bushmeat, it was often the only meat available.
"If they want meat to eat, there is very poor availability of domestic meat in these rural areas," she told BBC News.
"Chickens suffer terribly from disease in rainforest areas, so do not survive that well - so there is not much protein from domestic animals around."
Dr Jones explained that the influx of people, attracted by job opportunities at the mines, had led to an increase in demand for meat and because people had wages from the mines, small bars that sold bushmeat were opening.
Read More at BBC News
Okanda, the six-month-old baby gorilla at Twycross Zoo in baby gorilla has been extremely poorly and their vet Sarah has been living with him around the clock as she helps nurse him back to health. We discovered a problem with his mothers milk which meant the young primate was not getting the nutrients he needed. They had to sedate his mother, Ozala, while keepers hurried the infant to the on-site vet.
Sarah is now living with Okanda at an undisclosed location; She is only communicating with the infant through grunts, mimicking the sounds and actions of a primate so not to expose him to human influence.
Vet and director of life sciences at the zoo Sharon Redrobe said: “We’re very pleased with his progress but we thought we were going to lose him. It’s been very touch and go. He was so thin and he doesn’t want to be left alone because after all he’s still only a baby. Sarah isn’t holding him like a human baby, or talking to him, just grunting and grooming him like his mother would do.”
Okanda was put on a drip and had a feeding tube placed in his stomach as he was not strong enough to feed from a bottle. He was then fed powdered baby milk every three hours while his condition was continuously assessed. For the past few days, staff have been weaning the youngster off milk and on to solid foods, such as bananas and food pellets.
Sharon said: “He was really quiet until yesterday, but now he’s starting to play and make gorilla noises. He’s started biting Sarah, which is a good sign for him, but not so good for Sarah.”
‘We hope he will be back with his mum in about eight weeks. Gorillas are intelligent animals and it’s clear she misses him. We were worried that she would go off her food and we’d have to care for her too, but luckily we’ve not had any serious problems.”
Monkey Makes Warhol-Like Paintings, Art Collectors Go Bananas
With two hands, two feet, a tail, tongue and furry butt as tools to unleash your artistic wild side, who needs a paintbrush?
Not Pockets Warhol, a painting primate whose use of body parts has turned into a lucrative monkey business.
Art collectors are going bananas for the clever capuchin’s colourful abstracts, which fetch up to $300 from buyers as far away as Europe.
Now Pockets — we’ll use his first name to avoid confusion with that other giant of the art world — is having his own show. Following a reception Tuesday night, 40 monkey masterpieces will hang in Sadie’s Diner and Juice Bar on Adelaide St. W. for the next two months.
Pockets created the works during weekly therapy sessions at Story Book Farm sanctuary near Sunderland, where he lives with two dozen primates rescued from research labs, zoos, pet stores and private homes across the country.
But the proceeds from sales of his artwork aren’t going into Pockets’ pockets. He’s raising funds for a new barn to replace the cramped facility an hour northeast of Toronto.
It was Pockets’ resemblance to the American pop artist that prompted volunteer Charmaine Quinn to introduce him to non-toxic children’s paint as a way of keeping him busy.
“He looked a bit like Andy Warhol with that wild, white hair,” she says. While Pockets has done his own version of Warhol’s famous Campbell’s soup and Marilyn Monroe images, his splotches, splatters and sweeps of colour are more akin to the work of abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock.
“He seems to like bright colours,” says Quinn, one of 30 volunteers who keep the primates fed and entertained. But as visitors hover impatiently, Pockets, who has a Facebook page and a growing fan club, makes it clear artistic genius can’t be rushed.
“He’s easily distracted and he has the attention span of a 3-year-old,” explains Quinn, who also works with orphaned orangutans in Borneo. When the mood is right, the teenaged monkey takes mere minutes to smear colour on a canvas that will sell for $25 and up.
Sherri Delaney, a Durham Region police officer who opened the sanctuary 11 years ago, relies on donations to help with the $50,000-a-year cost of caring for the primates.
Among the residents are Komoto, a lemur who only knew how to run in circles after being confined to a tiny cage, and Lexy, a Japanese macaque who was duct-taped into a laundry basket for misbehaving.
Pockets wasn’t mistreated but his owner had to give him up because her health was failing, Delaney explains.
“The need is so great out there until we get some laws,” she says of the trade in exotic animals. With 19 at-risk monkeys waiting to move in, Delaney hopes to win a $100,000 grant from the Aviva Community Fund so she can build a bigger barn. Supporters have until Dec. 16 to vote online for her “monkeys in our midst” entry in the funding contest.
Failing that, the sanctuary’s future rests in Pockets’ talented hands — and feet and tail …
Monkeys At Marwell Wildlife Use Touch Screens In Study
A primate study centre has opened in Hampshire where endangered monkeys will learn to use touch screen computers.
The Sulawesi crested macaques will take part in a study at Marwell Wildlife to help scientists understand their memory, communication and emotions.
Visitors to the park, near Winchester, will be able to see the scientists and monkeys at work in a glassed area.
The project is a joint venture between Marwell and the University of Portsmouth.
"The animals can make choices using the touch screens and this offers us a direct window into their understanding," said lead scientist Dr Bridget Waller, from the university’s department of psychology.
The centre has been built alongside the park’s Sulawesi crested macaque island allowing the macaques, which originate from Indonesia, to voluntarily enter the specialised research area.
Those monkeys which take part are free to end the sessions whenever they like, return to their daily activities and receive food treats.
Dr Waller said: “This method is an excellent way to study the animals because they are curious about the tasks and keen to participate in activities with the researchers.”
The park said the centre was the first of its kind, studying cognitive functions of the endangered species which has declined by 80% in the past 40 years.
It is hoped the long-term project may reveal a link between human and primate thinking.
From BBC News
World's Most Endangered Primate Still Losing Habitat
Just twenty-three Hainan gibbons (Nomascus hainanus) survive in the world. Confined to a single protected area on a lone island, Hainan gibbons are losing their habitat at a steady rate of 20 hectares per day finds a new study by Greenpeace. In all, nearly a quarter of the Critically Endangered lesser ape’s habitat has been lost since 2001.
Researchers employed satellite imagery and field work to document illegal forest destruction on the island, largely for pulp and paper plantations. Although there are laws against such forest destruction, they are not enforced.
"This illegal deforestation comes in response to market demand and disrespect for nature," Yi Lan, forests campaigner with Greenpeace, said in a press release. "In this case, the local government has the ability to stop the rainforests and the gibbons from disappearing from Hainan."
There are no Hainan gibbons in captivity. Once widespread across Hainan Island, the nearly two dozen gibbons surviving today are found only in the Bawangling Nature Reserve on the island’s western side. Just over fifty years ago—before the forests were logged and turned into plantations—scientists believe there were likely 2,000 Hainan gibbons.
Study Finds Savannah Chimps Exhibit Sharing Behaviour Like Humans
Sharing food has widely been considered by scholars as a defining characteristic of human behavior. But a new study by Iowa State University anthropology professor Jill Pruetz now reports that chimpanzees from her Fongoli research site in Senegal also frequently share food and hunting tools with other chimps.
Co-authored by ISU anthropology graduate student Stacy Lindshield, their study is posted online in Primates and will be published in a future issue of the journal.
The researchers witnessed 41 cases of Fongoli chimpanzees willingly transferring either wild plant foods or hunting tools to other chimpanzees. While previous research by primatologists had documented chimps transferring meat among other non-relatives, this is the first study to document non-meat sharing behavior.
"They’re [the Fongoli chimps] not the only chimps that share, but in terms of the resources that we cover here, that is unique," said Pruetz, who was named a 2008 National Geographic Emerging Explorer for her world-renowned research on savanna chimpanzees in Senegal. "I guess all chimps share meat, but they don’t share plants or tools. Yet they do here, in addition to meat. It was intriguing when we first started seeing these events."
The researchers document a frequency of sharing previously unreported for chimpanzees. The chimps commonly transferred meat and wild plant foods, but they also transferred tools, honey and soil. Most of the transfer behavior was classified as recovery or passive sharing, with females commonly taking food from males — with much of that taking place from dominant to subordinate recipients.
Of the 41 witnessed events, Fongoli male chimps transferred wild foods or tools to females 27 times. While Christina Gomes and Christopher Boesch from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology authored a 2009 study proposing that males and females exchange meat for sex — resulting in males increasing their mating success and females increasing their caloric intake to overcome the energy costs and potential injury from hunting — Pruetz contends that’s not all that’s going on in the cases she’s witnessed.
"It’s a different set of relationships within the social group [at the Fongoli site], and I tend to think again that it ties back to the environment and the fact that the resources are distributed differently," said Pruetz, who is also ISU’s Walvoord Professor in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. "They have a big home range — about 10 times bigger than Jane Goodall’s range in Gombe at 86 square kilometers — and that forces them to stay together. If they split up like chimps normally do, it could be days or weeks or months before they may see someone again — and chimps are more social than that. So I think they stay together like monkeys and they move around their home range together."
Pruetz sees some of the sharing behavior between males and females as a product of the “food for sex” theory. The ISU researchers found that both adult females in estrus [the period of maximum sexual receptivity of the female] and adolescent females cycling to estrus were more likely to receive food from adult male chimps. Pruetz says that the male chimps may use food transfer as a future mating strategy with the adolescent females, particularly since there are a relatively small number of females in the Fongoli community.
"It may be used as a strategy [by the male chimps], anticipating a long-term gain on their behavior," she said. "We see that in baboons who have special friends."
As the only habituated community of chimpanzees living in a savanna environment, the researchers conclude that Fongoli provides detailed information on the effect of an open, dry and hot environment on social behavior and organization. Pruetz theorizes that it may also shed some light on how the earliest humans first came to share.
"There are aspects of human behavior, and I think that’s interesting because it’s not exactly the same, but it may give you an idea of how it [sharing among early humans] started," Pruetz said. "It’s at least one scenario and how it could have come about in our own lineage. To me, it just reinforces how important environment was."
An extensive look at what chimpanzees consume each day reveals that many of the plants they consume aren’t for nutrition but are likely ingested for medicinal purpose.
The findings, published in the journal Physiology & Behavior, indicate that the origins of medicine go way back, beyond the human species.
"We conclude that self-medication may have appeared in our ancestors in association with high social tolerance and lack of herbivorous gut specialization," lead author Shelly Masi and her colleagues write.
Masi, a researcher at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, and her team recorded the items consumed by a community of over 40 wild chimpanzees at Kibale National Park, Uganda. They also documented the availability of the foods, as well as the social interactions between the chimps.
They also documented the same information for about a dozen wild western gorillas in Dzanga-Ndoki National Park, Central African Republic.
Unusual food consumption in chimpanzees, meaning foods not normally associated with nutritional needs, was twice as high as it was for gorillas. Gorillas turn out to have more specialized guts that are better capable of detoxyifying harmful compounds, making them have have less of a need to self-medicate than chimps and humans may need to.
Chimpanzees and people are extremely social and both learn from each other, including what to eat.
"Older and more successful individuals (such as those that are high ranking) are expected to be the best model to copy, and are mainly responsible for generating and transmitting food traditions," according to the authors.
Analysis of the mostly non-nutritional and sometimes slightly toxic foods consumed determined that most had medicinal properties. Based on the study, the chimpanzee medicine chest appears to include the following: Antiaris toxicaria leaves (anti-tumor), Cordia abyssinica pith (anti-malarial and anti-bacterial), Ficus capensis (anti-bacterial), Ficus natalensis bark (anti-diarrheal), Ficus urceolaris leaves (de-worming agent), and many more.
The primates seemed to strategically go for the medicinal parts of these plants, and would consume them even when other more nutritious and palatable foods were available.
While chimps and humans appear to be the world’s most self-medicating animals, another new study, accepted for publication in the journal Small Ruminant Research, documents how both wild and domesticated herbivores also consume plants for medical reasons.
Juan Villalba of Utah State University’s Department of Wildland Resources, and co-author Serge Landau of Israel’s Volcani Center explain how goats sometimes nibble on the anti-parasitic plant Albizia anthelmintica.This was “followed by expulsion of worms in the feces and alleviation” of the worm problem.
Read More at discovery.comImage