Sleepy gorillas make their nests in Kahuzi-Biega National Park. You can visit these gorillas by going on a virtual gorilla trek in Democratic Republic of Congo!
"In July 1960, Jane Goodall boarded a boat, and after a few hours motoring over the warm, deep waters of Lake Tanganyika, she stepped onto the pebbly beach at Gombe. Last summer, almost exactly 54 years later, Jane Goodall was standing on the same beach. The vast lake was still warm, the beach beneath her clear plastic sandals still pebbly. But nearly everything else in sight was different."
A surprisingly dramatic world of lawsuits, mass resignations, and dysfunctional relationships between humans and apes. From Koko and Kanzi to Chantek and Nim Chimpsky, research into human-ape communications used to be all the rage. Nowadays, not so much. What happened?
A study [PDF] by CUNY Professor Diana Reiss and Rachel Morrison (Biopsychology and Behavioral Neuroscience Subprogram in Psychology The Graduate Center of CUNY) was published last week in Zoo Biology detailing for the first time a whisper‐like behavior in a non‐human primate, the cotton top tamarin at the Central Park Zoo. [more inside]
"ET TU, chimp? The leader of a wild chimpanzee troupe was recently attacked by four of his underlings, who banded together to beat him to death. It's unusual for chimps to kill their alpha male – and this event gives rare insight into group structure in our closest relatives."
He was taught to use matches, a skill he picked up quickly. There’s something eerie about watching Kanzi strike a match. The way he then holds the flame — taking care not to burn himself — is remarkably human. (video)
Studies have shown that chimps are capable of insightful reasoning and nuanced communication. Apparently, the individuals that are the smartest are also the most adept at slinging their own poo.
In the late Sixties and early Seventies several experiments were begun to test whether or not a non-human primate could construct a sentence. Several species were involved in these various experiments including the chimpanzees Washoe and Nim, a gorilla named Koko, and later in the Eighties work began with a bonobo named Kanzi. While great progress was made in teaching these primates a vocabulary, it would be difficult to see any of these experiments as a success. And all of these projects raised important questions about the ethics of such experiments. [more inside]
Believed to be extincted, the pygmy tarsier has recently resurfaced in a rain forest in Indonesia. More pictures here and video here.
Bonobo chimpanzees are commonly thought to be "an example of amicability, sensitivity and, well, humaneness" in the animal kingdom. Ian Parker's Swingers suggests a darker, more savage side to the species that belies popular perception.
Beethoven stretches out and relaxes. Gorillas belch to let others know where they are. Fish sing the body electric (.mov, 12 MB) for food and safety. How has your own perception shaped your worldview?
They are not the prettiest creature's around. More information and links here. The aye-aye is endangered mainly because Malagasy regard them as unlucky and kill them on sight. [more inside]