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Sep 4, 2016

Chimps in Context


After Evolang, I wrote a sentence-long synopsis of each of the talks and thought I'd do the same for "Chimpanzees in Context". It was a smaller symposium before the big IPS/ASP (primatology) conference in Chicago, so I was actually able to go to all of the talks (You'd need a time-turner to go to everything at IPS)! Chimps in Context was 2 days long and held at Lincoln Park Zoo. It was a nice warmup for the big conference at Navy Pier, which was 6 days long and hosted ~1500 people! I've been sleeping off that conference for the past week...

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Jane Goodall –
    Reminiscing about Gombe and telling hopeful stories, with a “Jane-Lilian-Jane” sandwich: Lilian Pintea discussed GIS projects at Gombe and beyond.

Elizabeth Lonsdorf – “Growing up chimpanzee: studies of behavioral development in a comparative perspective”
    There are differences in mother’s interactions with male or female offspring, and male offspring spend more time playing with adult males.

Gottfried Hohmann – “Temporal patterns of development in bonobos and chimpanzees”
    Female bonobos go through puberty earlier than female chimpanzees, and this may facilitate earlier transfer to another group.

Melissa Emery-Thompson – “Chimpanzee reproduction in context: a lifespan perspective”
    Compared the reproductive strategies and interbirth intervals of non-human great apes and hunter-gatherer people.

Cheryl Knott – “Ecology and the energetics of reproduction in the Hominoids”
    Energy input and variability in food sources may affect life history of great apes – orangutans have a larger interbirth interval, possibly due to high seasonal variation in fruit availability.

Josep Call – “Communication and coordination in chimpanzees and orangutans”
    Gesturing to request tools? But no spoilers here, just WATCH THIS SPACE, there’s some cool research coming out of Call’s group.

Masaki Tomonaga – “How chimpanzees perceive faces: An update after nine years of investigation”
    Testing chimpanzees’ facial perception using similar techniques to humans (at IPS, Tomonaga presented this cool study looking at reactions to conspecific eyes).

Lydia Hopper – “Chimpanzee social learning: A comparative perspective”
    Chimpanzees learn a behaviour from an agent (a human’s hand) better than from a mechanical substitute (a grabbing claw).

Mike Beran – “Cognitive control in chimpanzees”
    Chimpanzees are able to inhibit behaviour for a better reward, and they use toys and magazines to distract themselves!

Cat Hobaiter – “Gestural communication in Pan: tracing the origins of language”
    We can work out the meaning of great ape gestures by looking at the reaction of the recipient that satisfies the signaller: the Apparently Satisfactory Outcome (ASO).

Jared Taglialatela – “A comparison of socio-communicative behavior in chimpanzees and bonobos”
    Chimpanzees direct their calls to other individuals and combine their calls with other signals more than bonobos do.

Zanna Clay – “Vocal communication in Pan: Insights into underlying social awareness and the evolution of language”
    Young male bonobos test their social standing using vocalisations directed towards adults.

Simon Townsend – “Chimpanzee food calling: implications for the evolution of human semanticity”
    When two groups of chimpanzees were combined, one group acquired the same vocalisation for “apples” as the other group.

Mollie Bloomsmith – “A simple chimpanzee welfare assessment tool: application across chimpanzees living in different types of facilities”
    Survey of labs, zoos, and sanctuaries reveals one is not superior across all aspects, and all have room for improvement.

Georgia Mason – “Why do captive animals – including chimpanzees – perform abnormal repetitive behaviors, and how can we identify pathological forms?”
    Stereotypic “ARB” behaviour is not necessarily pathological; we need to study it in more species and take it alongside other behavioural indicators.

Satoshi Hirata – “Welfare of ex-biomedical chimpanzees in Japan and the role of research at Kumamoto Sanctuary, Japan”
    Kumamoto sanctuary looks incredible. What more can I say?

Hannah Buchanan-Smith – “Environmental enrichment: our cognitive challenges”
    There is a sweet spot for cognitive enrichment tasks that’s not too challenging (frustration) and not too easy (boredom).

Crickette Sanz – “Sex differences in foraging among sympatric chimpanzees and gorillas in northern Congo”
    Goualougo has chimpanzees and gorillas in an overlapping range and they sometimes encounter. It also allows you to look at interspecies differences in tool use in the exact same habitat.

Stacy Lindshield – “Savanna chimpanzees at Fongoli, Senegal, use tools to reconcile an extreme environment”
    Savanna chimpanzees use tools for baobab cracking and bushbaby hunting.

Janet Mann – “Look no hands! Parallels and differences between dolphin and chimpanzee tool-use”
    Dolphins put sponges on their beaks and use them to flush fish out of hiding. But not all dolphins do it; in this study group 4% are members of the sponge club, and mothers pass sponging on to daughters.

Claudio Tennie – “Chimpanzee tool-use: cultural, but not culture-dependent”
    Non-human great ape tool use might not be learned, could just be serial individual re-invention: Is hominin stone tool use also a latent solution?

Brian Hare – “Who is nicer, bonobo or chimpanzee?”
    “Chimps eat food" but bonobos share it with strangers; if a bonobo is in a room alone with some food and can see another bonobo, they let them in before eating.

Sarah Brosnan – “Cooperative decision-making in non-human primates”
    Capuchins, Rhesus, Chimps, and Humans all fall to Stag-Stag solution in a cooperation game, but maybe follow different strategies. And in other games, they act very differently.

Shinya Yamamoto – “Cooperation in dyad and in group among chimpanzees and bonobos”
    Chimpanzees may be better at group coordination (like crossing roads), and bonobos are better at dyadic cooperation (passing tools to another individual).

Katie Cronin – “Strategic cooperation by chimpanzees: friend today, foe tomorrow”
    At Chimfunshi, in a playback of unknown individuals, the chimpanzees responded in a coordinated patrolling movement.

Roman Wittig – “Chimpanzee friends: formation, maintenance and benefits of social bonds in wild chimpanzees.”
    Food sharing may help form social bonds (with more oxytocin no matter which individual), and grooming maintains them (with more oxytocin when with a friend).

Jorg Massen – “The social lives and cooperative skills of corvids”
    There is evidence of prosociality in cooperative breeding corvids but we need compare with more species to figure out why.

Lydia Luncz – “Culture in a nutshell: social influence on percussive tool selection in wild chimpanzees”
    Variation in the choice of stone or wood tools is not dictated purely by ecological factors, and so could be cultural.

Daniel Haun – “Group-level variation in chimpanzee social behaviour”
    Social closeness and tolerance varies in Chimfunshi groups and may be important for transmission of behaviour (e.g. grass in ear)

Colin Chapman – “Chimpanzee conservation: what we know, what we do not know, and ways forward.”
    Deforestation, Hunting, Disease, and Climate change all affect great apes, but we need more data on how it all works.

Tatyana Humle – “Contextualising coexistence between people and chimpanzees: challenges and opportunities”
    A very balanced talk on how to approach the issue of palm oil in Guinea, by considering the needs and rights of people at all levels (local to international), and also without any “white saviour” nonsense.

Dave Morgan – “Modern environmental challenges to the ecological flexibility of chimpanzees”

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