Category Archives: Primates

NEW FOSSIL – 1

November 2007

New ape fossil from around 10 million years ago, a close relative of the last common ancestor of humans, gorillas and chimps. BBC summary.

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Filed under Evolution, Fossils, Primates

WHO IS THE CLOSEST RELATIVE OF THE PRIMATES?

November 2007

Short answer: the colugo. Which only begs the question – what is a colugo? Answer to that question – a flying lemur. Except (of course) it can’t fly (it glides) and it isn’t a lemur (there are two species, one from the Philippines, the other from SE Asia, whereas lemurs are found only on…?). The colugo, and the tree shrew, both branched off from the primate lineage, around 68 MY (before the demise of the dinosaurs). The colugo is (just) more closely related to us than the tree shew. Not many people know that.

BBC article; Nature news article (subscription needed); authors’ page.

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Filed under Mammals, Primates

PRIMATES IN DANGER

October 2007

Research presented to the International Primatological Society suggests that around 1/3 of all primate species are in imminent danger of extinction, thanks to human activity.

BBC summary; picture guide to the endangered species;  brilliant Radio 4 programme about orang-utans (click on listen again).

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Filed under Audio files, Conservation, Primates

CHIMPS CRY FOR HELP

October 2007

If a chimp is being attacked, it will exaggerate its cries if there is a high-ranking chimp around who could challenge the aggressor.

BBC summary; original research article in PNAS (open access).

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Filed under Behaviour, Primates

GIANT LION-EATING CHIMPS

September 2007

Stories abound from the Congo about a group of large, aggressive chimps. Cleve Hicks (University of Amsterdam) claims that the stories are true. Read this article and see a) whether you believe him and b) if you don’t, how could you test his udea?

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Filed under Behaviour, Primates

THE ENGLISH MONKEY

September 2007

The ouakari lives in the Ogapo jungle in the Amazon and looks like this. For some reason the locals call it “The English Monkey”. Obvious question: why do they look like that? How could you test your hypothesis?

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Filed under Evolution, Images, Primates

HAPPY ORANGS, GRUMPY HUMANS?

September 2007

I hope you were impressed by the new Orang house at Chester Zoo. I thought it was fantastic, and the Orangs seemed happier (that was also the impression of the Birmingham Uni final year project students who were studying their behaviour after the change of enclosure). But the public is apparently unhappy – the Zoo has had loads of complaints that they aren’t marooned on their island any more, so you have to wait a few minutes to see them….

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Filed under Manchester, Primates, Zoos

TWO MORE PODCASTS

September 2007

Science podcast on ape/human cognition, feathered dinosaurs, saving tigers. Science podcast on cooperative breeding and the mystery of the Ivory-Billed woodpecker – is it extinct?

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Filed under Audio files, Behaviour, Birds, Conservation, Dinosaurs, Primates

KILLER FEMALE CHIMPS

May 2007

In certain circumstances, female chimps will kill the offspring of other females. Explained in this Current Biology research article, this Current Biology magazine article, and summarised in this BBC article.

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Filed under Behaviour, Primates

HAND SIGNALS IN PRIMATES

May 2007

Not content with showing that elephants may be conscious, Frans de Waal has now suggested that hand signs are extremely widespread amongst primates.

BBC article here, original PNAS article here (open access), BBC piece about animal communication here.

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Filed under Behaviour, Mammals, Primates