Harmonie Klein studies chimpanzees in the Loango National Park in Gabon. This park is a mosaic of different habitat types ranging from coastal lagoons and mangrove swamps, to forests and open savannah.
Strong social ties are a key driver of cooperation in many species and are associated with adaptive benefits in several of them, including humans, feral horses and dolphins. Although such bonds are widely observed, it is not always known why any two particular animals become friends (just as in humans).
This month’s featured video is primatologist Zarin Machanda’s talk from The Leakey Foundation’s new web series Lunch Break Science. Dr. Machanda is assistant professor of anthropology at Tufts University and director of the Kibale Chimpanzee Project. Her talk explores the surprisingly nuanced world of chimpanzee vocalizations and gestures.
Chimps are unusual among mammals in that daughters, not sons, typically pick up their roots at puberty and move away from their families. But in Gombe National Park, some chimpanzee females stay put instead of moving out.
Leakey Foundation grantee Kelly Ostrofsky studies how wild apes move and climb in their natural habitats. As our closest living relatives, these apes provide an important comparative context for understanding how our ancestors may have moved and climbed.