On Fongoli Chimpanzee Survival Strategies & Implications of Early Human Evolution

The Fongoli savanna in southeast Senegal offers a unique ecosystem. Temperatures can rise above 110 degrees Fahrenheit with brush fires sweeping across. The chimpanzees who live on these savannas weren't well understood. Erin Wessling at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology studied these chimpanzees. She compared these chimps to forest chimpanzees. The Fongoli savanna... Continue Reading →

The Newly Discovered And Nearly Extinct Tapanuli Orangutan Species

Up to today, there were two known Orangutan species, both critically endangered. There are about 4,000 more Sumatran orangutans (Pongo abelii) than Bornean orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) currently living in the Indonesian rainforest. A new orangutan family member, the Tapanuli orangutans (Pongo tapanuliensis), was described in a paper published Thursday in Current Biology. And with less than 800 individuals, that makes... Continue Reading →

Wild Gorilla Happy Meal Time Songs

Many animals, including chimpanzees and bonobos, have food related calls... But aside from anecdotal reports, there was no evidence of this behavior in gorillas, until now. A new paper in PLoS One documents that the wild western lowland gorillas in the Republic of the Congo sing and hum when eating, as a way to express... Continue Reading →

Katie Slocombe from the University of York observed that before integrating the two different groups of chimpanzees, each produced different grunts for "apple," and after the integration, she noted that the new group members adapted their grunts to the ones produced by the chimpanzees already living there, “Three years after the integration, the grunt calls of... Continue Reading →

Do Chimpanzees Understand Death?

  Maggie Koerth-Baker, senior writer for Boing Boing, recently wrote an article in the New York Times reviewing the behaviors of chimpanzees around mortality. She retells the death of a chimpanzee named Pansy, who died in captivity, at the Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park in Scotland, about 5 years ago. The death was imminent. Many... Continue Reading →

Monkey Midwifery

A paper published in the journal Behavioural Processes describes a rare phenomenon, midwifery behavior among black snub-nosed monkeys in Yunnan, China. The paper is titled, "Daytime birth and parturition assistant behavior in wild black-and-white snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus bieti) Yunnan,China," and documents this day time birth accompanied by a helper. As you may know, primates have... Continue Reading →

The Completed Bonobo Genome

The bonobo genome is sequenced. The letter reporting was recently published in Nature, and is available openly under the title, "The bonobo genome compared with the chimpanzee and human genomes."  Kay Prüfer from the Max Plank Institute for Evolutionary Anthropologyis the lead author. There are some interesting preliminary comparisons such as: Bonobos and chimps have 99.6% sequence similarity... Continue Reading →

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