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.
A new study reports that great apes were wiped out in ancient Europe when climate and environmental changes replaced forests with grasslands. The change meant monkeys thrived but great apes did not. "Ancient relatives of modern orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees and gibbons were able to survive in Asia and Africa, where those changes were not as drastic," reports the BBC.
It's a scenario you'll recognize. A Mom's firm "no," via shade of the head, to her toddler, who is getting into something he or she shouldn't.
Scientists studying great ape infant behavior witnessed 4 bonobos shaking their heads in ways that appeared to mean "no" on 13 different occasions. The observation raises the question: Is the "no" head shake hard-coded in humans?
If you did not know that bonobos are matriarchal and use sex to maintain harmony, you'll want to read this introduction to bonobos from Live Science and primatologist Brian Hare. He has done several studies at our sanctuary for orphaned chimpanzees, the Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center in the Republic of Congo.
Did you know there is some exciting momentum around the issue of chimpanzees used in invasive research?
Best estimates are that more than 1,000 chimpanzees are in labs in the U.S., either being used for painful and terrifying experiments or being warehoused in case they are wanted. One chimpanzee named Karen was taken from the wild as an infant and kept in a lab for more than 50 years.
If you care to learn about this issue and spread the word, here are some other facts to pocket:
In case you missed it, a report in February listed the top 25 most endangered primate species. They include great apes, the Cross River Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli) and Sumatran Orangutan (Pongo abelii), both of whose numbers are in the hundreds.
Although Jane was in Washington, DC this week stuck in the terrible blizzard that left the city with nearly two feet of snow, she wanted to make sure to wish everyone a Happy Valentine's Day! Take a look at Jane's special Valentine's Day video message.
If you have ever met Jane in person you know that she is never without Mr. H, a unique toy monkey with a special story. Here in Jane's own words is the story of her traveling companion:
Jane received a very special picture from a member of Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots program recently.
The young artist, Isabella from Florida, had this to say about her drawing: