Back in the 1970s, a chimpanzee named Nim Chimpsky took part in a Columbia University research study called “Project Nim.”
Project Nim was led by Herbert Terrace, a psychologist at Columbia who was attempting to find out if a chimpanzee could learn to communicate using American Sign Language.
“Everyone knows that words are learned [...]
Over at the Freakonomics blog, the primatologist Frans de Waal answers readers questions on …how polygamist sects mimic the mating systems of animals, and why bonobos eat after sex, amongst other things.
This week in Science – The inappropriate use and protrayal of Chimpanzees:
In 2005, a survey (see the table, left side) was conducted at the Regenstein Center for African Apes (RCAA) at the Lincoln Park Zoo (Chicago, IL). (…) The final question of the survey asked respondents to select which of three great ape [...]
Dear Zoo Visitor:
Sorry to hear about your disappointment during your visit, but, yes, “sexual” behavior is normal for bonobos in the wild, including juveniles. In fact, most behaviors, obviously all those involving juveniles, that involve two or more bonobos in “sexual” activity are not really sexual in the sense of procreation, rather they [...]
Uddin et al in today’s PNAS:
The human genome evolution project seeks to reveal the genetic underpinnings of key phenotypic features that are distinctive of humans, such as a greatly enlarged cerebral cortex, slow development, and long life spans. This project has focused predominantly on genotypic changes during the 6-million-year descent from the last common [...]
Roughly 50% of the primate genome consists of mobile, repetitive DNA sequences such as Alu and LINE1 elements. The causes and evolutionary consequences of mobile element insertion, which have received considerable attention during the past decade, are reviewed in this article. Because of their unique mutational mechanisms, these elements are highly useful for answering phylogenetic [...]
This just in – feminism wiped out Neanderthals!
Among Neanderthals, hunting big beasts was women’s work as well as men’s, so it’s a safe bet that female hunters got stomped, gored, and worse with appalling frequency. And a high casualty rate among fertile women – the vital “reproductive core” of a tiny population – [...]
Do chimps have culture? a phylogenetic study
Over the last few years, the evidence has been accumulating that different populations of chimpanzees have different cultures. Field studies of chimp behaviors (e.g. Whiten et al 1999 (PDF)) have shown a wide range of behavioral variation across Africa.
For example, chimps at one site, Bossou, use [...]