A New York judge has granted two research chimps the writ of habeas corpus — a move that allows them to challenge their detention. The decision, says Science magazine, effectively recognizes chimps as legal persons, marking the first time in U.S. history that an animal has been given that right.

The first complete genetic map of the mountain gorilla was published several days ago. It is the most extensive genetic analysis of mountain gorillas ever conducted. The importance of it cannot be stressed due to the fact that mountain gorillas are critically endangered. With such small numbers, and the risk of extinction, they are burdened... 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 →

The Possibility Of Full Protection For Chimpanzees Under The Endangered Species Act

For as long as I've been alive, wild chimpanzees have been “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Captive-born chimps, however, have only been classified under the lesser class of “threatened.” Dan Ashe, the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), announced today that the loophole that exempted captive-bred chimpanzees from the full... 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 →

Gorilla Baby Talk

Eva Maria Luëf and Katja Liebal of the Free University of Berlin have published in the American Journal of Primatology a new paper documenting the occurrence of motheresein 24 captive lowland gorillas. During a 4 month observation of these gorillas, it was observed that elder gorillas used different gestures to start and stop play. To... Continue Reading →

Foresight & Innovation in a Devious Chimpanzee

A chimpanzee in at the Furuvik Zoo in Sweden is documented to store various projectile object to be thrown at zoo visitors at a later time. The results of this study has been published in PLoS One, "Spontaneous Innovation for Future Deception in a Male Chimpanzee." I think its a pretty fascinating discussion of foresight,... Continue Reading →

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