"Researchers from Kyoto University in Japan and the University of Kent in England gave two groups of chimpanzees straws and put them in rooms with juice boxes mounted onto the wall. One group started using the 7-inch straws to dip into a hole in the juice box, while the other started using the sucking method (as humans would for a milkshake, or pretty much any other drink). Sucking juice through a straw was 50 times more efficient: A chimp could down 50 milliliters of juice in 30 seconds, while it would take their dipping peers 10 minutes to pull out a mere 20 milliliters. When the researchers put a [...]
In the grasping-at-any-straw-of-optimism-anywhere-we-can-find-it department, how about this: It is good that we are destroying the natural habitat of chimpanzees through deforestation because THEY ARE TERRIFYING WARRIOR CANNIBAL CREATURES WHO MUST BE STOPPED AT ALL COST!!! No one needs to be reminded of the horrible story of Travis from Connecticut. Well today we learn, in a Science Times article about territorial rivalry between groups of chimps in Uganda's Kibale National Park.
I generally support zoos and aquariums. Because I think it's good for people to observe and learn about animals, despite the cruelty inherent to keeping them in pens. But, man, after the ice-skating bear that killed its trainer in Kyrgyzstan, and the circus tiger that mauled its trainer during a dinner show in Germany, and now the killer whale that drowned trainer Dawn Brancheau in front of an audience full of children at Orlando's SeaWorld yesterday-the third human death associated with this same whale! It's like a Dino De Laurentiis movie-you get the feeling that it's maybe time to reconsider the wisdom of having captive animals [...]
"After a visitor group had left the compound area, Santino went inside the enclosure and brought a good-sized heap of hay that he placed near the visitor's section, and immediately after that he put stones under it. He also appeared to have placed projectiles behind, just before he went in after the hay. After this, he sat down beside the hay and waited. When the visitors came back, he waited until they were close by and, without any preceding display, he threw stones at the crowd. What makes this a bit special is that he actually had not experienced before what he seemed to anticipate. He, in a sense, [...]
Okay, I guess we have to go here. How do monkeys make sex tools? The New York Times talks to University of Cambridge primatologist William C. McGrew, who notes that male chimpanzees (who are, I know, NOT monkeys, but whatever) take dry, dead leaves and begin ripping them apart to attract attention. There is indeed more.
"I favour the hypothesis that stick carrying is practice for the adult role of motherhood. perhaps similar to functions of other kinds of play, being practice for adult roles … It was striking that this behaviour was seen in some adult females, but never after they became mothers." —Zoologists Sonya Kahlenberg of Bates College, who, with her colleague Richard Wrangham of Harvard University, observed juvenile chimps in Uganda's Kibale National Park playing with sticks "like children play with dolls, cradling them and even making nests for them to sleep in at night." I wish I had some juvenile chimps in my family. They seem very easy to [...]
"That afternoon, Pansy had moved into her daughter Rosie's nest from the previous night. As Pansy's breathing became labored and her movements diminished, Rosie and Blossom sat with her, grooming her and watching her. Chippy arrived shortly before Pansy likely died. All three periodically inspected Pansy's face and limbs, with Chippy at one point touching her neck." -Katherine Harmon of Scientific American writes about a University of Stirling study of a family of chimpanzees' reactions to the elderly mother's death from natural causes. It's very interesting from a scientific perspective in that the chimps were… Oh… Oh, Jesus… I'm sorry… I… I can't…