A fossil discovery described in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is inconsistent with common notions that our direct evolutionary ancestors looked more like chimpanzees or gorillas than humans.
Like the famous "Lucy," this fossil, dubbed "Big Man," is Australopithecus afarensis, a bipedal primate and direct ancestor of humans. Big Man stood about 5'5," had legs that would have been good for running, and had a rib cage similar to our own. He was much taller than Lucy.
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.
If you're a frequent visitor to our website or belong to our online community*, you may have heard us explain that entertainment chimpanzees generally can't be retired to zoos, because they haven't learned chimpanzee social skills and therefore don't fit in easily with established chimpanzee groups.
One of Jane's favorite places to visit and "recharge her batteries" is the Platte River in Nebraska. Her dear friend photographer Tom Mangelsen has a family cabin there and Jane tries each year to sneak a few days into her busy schedule to witness the migration of the sandhill cranes and snow geese. Every March and April, an estimated hundreds of thousands of these magnificent birds travel through Nebraska on their great migration to Alaska and even Siberia.
A new study shows that male chimpanzee groups move into the territory of other chimpanzee groups to attack them and ultimately take over the territory or mates. But the scientists who conducted the study say they are reluctant to draw comparisons to human warfare. Instead, they are emphasizing the individual cooperation involved.
The Guardian quotes scientist John Mitani, a primate behavioral ecologist at the University of Michigan:
Scientists have identified more than 40 gestures used by orangutans to communicate.
To initiate play, for example, the apes used gestures including back rolls and blowing rasberries, while, quite familiarly "nudge and 'shoo' movements meant an ape wanted to be left alone."
Two scientists from the University of St Andrews in Scotland observed 28 orangutans at Twycross Zoo in the UK, Apenheul Primate Park in the Netherlands, and Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in Jersey.
National Geographic posted this video of a chimp baby in Tanzania doing what "kids" do best -- playing!
Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
What was known about chimpanzees when Jane Goodall stepped off that boat to begin her study of the wild chimp communities living in Tanzanian forest around one of the world's longest, largest and deepest freshwater lakes, (Lake Tanganyika)?
Since Jane is on a perpetual global speaking tour and traveling more than 300 days per year, she gets to places few of us have seen. Jane loves taking photos and thought you would enjoy seeing some of her more unusual snapshots.
On July 14, 2010, it will be 50 years to the day that Jane Goodall first stepped out of a game warden’s boat onto the pebbly beach at the Gombe Chimpanzee Reserve in what is today Tanzania. At the time, she expected to be in the forest observing wild chimpanzees for 3 or 4 months.