Jane on 'The Peak' and chimps in the trees

Friday, June 25, 2010 - 6:04pm

After a few weeks at Gombe, Jane found a perfect vantage point for watching the chimpanzees. It was a high ridge that gave her a good view in all directions. She could see the chimpanzees moving in the trees, and she could hear if they called. She noticed that the chimpanzees generally traveled in small groups, but also that they sometimes came together in one big gathering -- especially around fruiting trees. Eventually she realized the chimps she was observing were part of a group -- a community -- about 50 individuals strong.

When they left their trees, Jane could go to the feeding site and examine what kinds of foods the chimps ate. She saw that they ate fruit, blossoms, seeds, and more.

From 'The Peak' Jane also could observe how the chimpanzees built their nests at night. They bend branches over a fork in a tree or some other platform, and tread on the leaves to put them in place. The chimpanzees also use very small leafy twigs as pillows. Once, Jane tried out an empty chimp nest: "Very comfortable and springy indeed," she wrote.

 (Photo: JGI/Bill Wallauer.)


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