Featured Blog: The Primatology Blog

The featured blog is the ‘The Primatology Blog‘. This is a blog by a group of volunteers who write about primate related news and features and have an interest in the conservation and preservation of non-human primates. While the study of primates is interesting in itself it is also useful in learning about ourselves through our nearest relatives. For instance, primate species may show complex social behaviours that resemble those in humans and they can also tell us more about our own origins. The team come up with endlessly interesting articles. There is a short article here on Kanzi, the Bonobo with a clip of him successfully playing a game of Pacman. Kanzi is remarkable for demonstrating the use of a language symbol board which he did by apparently observing his adopted mother who herself was not able to use the system. Kanzi has also mastered the rudiments of stone tool making.

In this article, there is a discussion of the gait of the gibbon which was examined in a study and a clip. The Gibbon’s long arms are specifically geared towards swinging through the trees although as they showthat the Gibbon is still able to walk. We see an interesting comparison of neonates, infants and great apes. The infants differed from the other two groups in recalling objects dependent on their spatial location rather than just on their features and this is related to a divergence of our species some 15 million years ago. Here is a discussion of Gibbon song which is apparently quite complex. The Gibbons are capable of using it to ward off predators and other gibbons are apparently able to understand these calls. They also comment on this incredible story of chimps using wooden spears that they have fashioned themselves to hunt with. There is some evidence for the diversion of bonobos and chimpanzees 0.9 million years ago mentioned briefly in this post before a discussion of three subspecies of chimpanzee that have been proposed. There are a number of other interesting articles along the way:-

  • Here are some photos of a young Orang-Utan getting along with a tiger cub!
  • The authors identify a very useful database of digitised images of many primates here.
  • A study supporting the evolution of intelligence in humans for the purposes of social interaction is discussed here.
  • Here for instance they report on the discovery of 3 new species of Lemurs in Madagascar, the size of a mouse!
  • Here we can see a young macaque imitating facial movements (with remarkably quick visual development as the macaque was only three days old!).
  • A baby macaque hugging a pigeon!
  • A link to an article on similarities between chimpanzees and humans.
  • A report on a study on chimpanzee rationality.
  • A link to an article on Bonobos using handtools.
  • In another post, the decision of the National Human Genome Research Institute to sequence the genome of the Gibbon is discussed.
  • The discovery of a fossilised Miocene ape and the implications of this. Differences between humans and chimpanzees in the way genes are spliced.
  • Genetic diversification of the gorillas in the Ice Age.
  • A study in which Gorillas begin to use branches to throw at humans is examined in terms of mirror neurons.
  • A remarkable picture of an Orang Utan using a spear to hunt for fish.
  • Evidence that primate brains evolved twice is discussed in this article.
  • Anjana the chimpanzee bonding with two white tigers.
  • An article discussing evidence that Bonobos hunting other primates including Wolf’s Mona monkeys.
  • There is a three part series on gorillas in the Congo which also touches on the disturbing loss of gorillas due to hunting.
  • A database of non-human primate SNP’s.

Here is an unbelievable video of a chimpanzee Ayumu performing a memory task and the chimps have even beat college students on a memory task!

There is also a mention of a book ‘Baboon Metaphysics’ which provides an opportunity for a great quote from Darwin

‘He who understands baboon would do more towards metaphysics than Locke’

This is endlessly fascinating blog about our nearest evolutionary relatives which also provides a glimpse into ourselves.


If you have any comments, you can leave them below or alternatively e-mail justinmarley17@yahoo.co.uk


The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor. The author is not responsible for the contents of any external sites that are linked to in this blog.


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