Lester sher Center For The Study And Conservation Of Apes

Chicago, IL, United States

Lester sher Center For The Study And Conservation Of Apes

Chicago, IL, United States
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Hopper L.M.,Lester sher Center For The Study And Conservation Of Apes
Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences | Year: 2017

Many zoos are committed to conservation efforts and answering applied questions about veterinary care and welfare. It is less common, however, for basic science to be conducted in zoos. Comparative cognitive research run in zoos is gaining momentum, with more zoos becoming involved and a greater diversity of species being studied. The majority of cognitive research in zoos is conducted with primates, bears, and elephants. There is less cognitive research run with other species, in particular birds, reptiles and insects, or with zoo visitors. Given the number and variety of animals they house, zoos offer a unique forum to expand the taxonomic focus of cognitive research, especially via multi-institutional collaborations, whilst creating an opportunity to foster public engagement with research. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd


van Leeuwen E.J.C.,University of St. Andrews | van Leeuwen E.J.C.,Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics | Mundry R.,Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology | Cronin K.A.,Lester sher Center For The Study And Conservation Of Apes | And 2 more authors.
Current Biology | Year: 2017

The ‘grooming handclasp’ is one of the most well-established cultural traditions in chimpanzees. A recent study by Wrangham et al. [1] reduced the cultural scope of grooming-handclasp behavior by showing that grooming-handclasp style convergence is “explained by matrilineal relationship rather than conformity” [1]. Given that we previously reported cultural differences in grooming-handclasp style preferences in captive chimpanzees [2], we tested the alternative view posed by Wrangham et al. [1] in the chimpanzee populations that our original results were based on. Using the same outcome variable as Wrangham et al. [1] — the proportion of high-arm grooming featuring palm-to-palm clasping — we found that matrilineal relationships explained neither within-group homogeneity nor between-group heterogeneity, thereby corroborating our original conclusion that grooming-handclasp behavior can represent a group-level cultural tradition in chimpanzees. © 2017 Elsevier Ltd


Sanz C.M.,Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology | Sanz C.M.,Washington University | Caspar S.,Copenhagen University | Caspar S.,Honey Bee Research Institute | And 2 more authors.
American Journal of Primatology | Year: 2010

Several populations of chimpanzees have been reported to prey upon Dorylus army ants. The most common tool-using technique to gather these ants is with ''dipping'' probes, which vary in length with regard to aggressiveness and lifestyle of the prey species. We report the use of a tool set in army ant predation by chimpanzees in the Goualougo Triangle, Republic of Congo. We recovered 1,060 tools used in this context and collected 25 video recordings of chimpanzee tool-using behavior at ant nests. Two different types of tools were distinguished based on their form and function. The chimpanzees use a woody sapling to perforate the ant nest, and then a herb stem as a dipping tool to harvest the ants. All of the species of ants preyed upon in Goualougo are present and consumed by chimpanzees at other sites, but there are no other reports of such a regular or widespread use of more than one type of tool to prey upon Dorylus ants. Furthermore, this tool set differs from other types of tool combinations used by chimpanzees at this site for preying upon termites or gathering honey. Therefore, we conclude that these chimpanzees have developed a specialized method for preying upon army ants, which involves the use of an additional tool for opening nests. Further research is needed to determine which specific ecological and social factors may have shaped the emergence and maintenance of this technology © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.


Freeman H.D.,Lester sher Center For The Study And Conservation Of Apes | Ross S.R.,Lester sher Center For The Study And Conservation Of Apes
PeerJ | Year: 2014

It is widely accepted that an animal's early history, including but not limited to its rearing history, can have a profound impact on later behavior. In the case of captive animals, many studies have used categorical measures such as mother reared or human reared that do not account for both the influence of human and conspecific interaction. In order to account for the influence of both human and conspecific early exposure to later behavior, we collected 1385 h of data on 60 chimpanzees, of which 36 were former pets or performers, currently housed at accredited zoos or sanctuaries. We developed a unique metric, the Chimpanzee-Human Interaction (CHI) Index that represented a continuous measure of the proportion of human and chimpanzee exposure subjects experienced and here focused on their exposure during the first four years of life.We found that chimpanzees who experienced less exposure to other chimpanzees as infants showed a lower frequency of grooming and sexual behaviors later in life which can influence social dynamics within groups.We also found chimpanzees who experienced more exposure to other chimpanzees as infants showed a higher frequency of coprophagy, suggesting coprophagy could be a socially-learned behavior. These results help characterize some of the long-term effects borne by chimpanzees maintained as pets and performers and may help inform managers seeking to integrate these types of chimpanzees into larger social groups, as in zoos and sanctuaries. In addition, these results highlight the necessity of taking into account the time-weighted influence of human and conspecific interactions when assessing the impact that humans can have on animals living in captivity. © 2014 Freeman and Ross.


Parr L.A.,Emory University | Heintz M.,University of Chicago | Lonsdorf E.,Lester sher Center For The Study And Conservation Of Apes | Wroblewski E.,University of Minnesota
Journal of Comparative Psychology | Year: 2010

Faces provide important information about identity, age, and even kinship. A previous study in chimpanzees reported greater similarity between the faces of mothers and sons compared with mothers and daughters, or unrelated individuals. This was interpreted as an inbreeding avoidance mechanism where females, the dispersing gender, should avoid mating with any male that resembles their mother. Alternatively, male faces may be more distinctive than female faces, biasing attention toward males. To test these hypotheses, chimpanzees and rhesus monkeys matched conspecifics' faces of unfamiliar mothers and fathers with their sons and daughters. Results showed no evidence of male distinctiveness, rather a cross-gender effect was found: chimpanzees were better matching moms with sons and fathers with daughters. Rhesus monkeys, however, showed an overwhelming bias toward male-distinctiveness. They were faster to learn male faces, performed better on father-offspring and parent-son trials, and were best matching fathers with sons. This suggests that for the rhesus monkey, inbreeding avoidance involves something other than facial phenotypic matching but that among chimpanzees, the visual recognition of facial similarities may play an important role. © 2010 American Psychological Association.


Ross S.R.,Lester sher Center For The Study And Conservation Of Apes | Shender M.A.,Lester sher Center For The Study And Conservation Of Apes
Primates | Year: 2016

The degree to which the relatively smaller area of artificial environments (compared with natural habitats) has measureable effects on the behavior and welfare of captive animals has been debated for many years. While there is little question that these spaces provide far less opportunity for natural ranging behavior and travel, less is known about the degree to which captive animals travel within their environments and what factors influence these travel patterns. We intensively studied the movement of zoo-housed chimpanzees and gorillas using a computer map interface and determined their mean daily travel and found they travelled similar distances each day when restricted to their indoor areas, but when provided additional outdoor space, chimpanzees tended to increase their travel to a greater extent than did gorillas. Both species travelled shorter distances than has been recorded for their wild counterparts, however, when given access to their full indoor–outdoor exhibit; those differences were not as substantive. These findings suggest that while large, complex naturalistic environments might not stimulate comparable species-typical travel patterns in captive apes, larger spaces that include outdoor areas may be better at replicating this behavioral pattern than smaller, indoor areas. © 2016 Japan Monkey Centre and Springer Japan


Hopper L.M.,Lester sher Center For The Study And Conservation Of Apes | Morgan D.B.,Lester sher Center For The Study And Conservation Of Apes | Ross S.R.,Lester sher Center For The Study And Conservation Of Apes
International Journal of Primatology | Year: 2014

Primatologists were asked to submit their "ideas for the Big Questions that remain unanswered in Primatology" and, from this, Setchell (2013) grouped the 170 responses into 11 broad themes. This exercise created a valuable tool that can help primatologists identify both the "missing gaps" and current broad overarching themes within our field. In this commentary, we offer our perspective on the methodology and results of this survey. By considering the 11 themes more holistically, primatologists can more easily address a broader range of questions, methods, and outcomes for their research endeavors and conservation efforts. Ultimately, the results of this survey should enable researchers and policymakers to recognize gaps in our knowledge and plan how to proceed with new research initiatives and funding applications. The identified themes should also provide a reference point for new avenues of investigation, and we are hopeful that this list can encourage interdisciplinary research if primatologists consider the overlaps across the themes. However, as Setchell noted, as some key areas of research were omitted from the list, the 11 themes should be used as a tool for guidance in expanding our research horizons and not as a template for the minimum of what is required. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media New York.


Chelluri G.I.,Lester sher Center For The Study And Conservation Of Apes | Chelluri G.I.,University of Chicago | Ross S.R.,Lester sher Center For The Study And Conservation Of Apes | Wagner K.E.,Lester sher Center For The Study And Conservation Of Apes
Applied Animal Behaviour Science | Year: 2013

In captive animal facilities, human staff members are a relevant part of the animals' social environment in addition to providing care and managing the social group. Structured, predictable interactions and relaxed, spontaneous contacts may all affect the animals' behavior and well-being, both immediately and in the long term. This study examined the association between unstructured, affiliative caretaker-animal interactions and the behavior of zoo-housed chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and Western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla). The interactions in question included play, spontaneous feeding, and other positive vocal and visual interactions performed through a protective mesh barrier. Behavioral data collected over 48 months were used to identify correlates of caretaker interactions among key behaviors relevant to welfare assessment, including agonism, sexual behavior, abnormal behavior, prosocial behavior, and self-directed behavior, as well as the presence of wounds. In observational sessions containing one or more caretaker interactions, chimpanzees and gorillas both showed higher agonism (P=0.044 and P=0.042, respectively) and lower self-directed behavior (P=0.035 for chimpanzees and P=0.001 for gorillas) than in control samples. Agonism rose in chimpanzees from an average of 0.01-0.12% of overall behaviors, and in gorillas from 0% to 0.1%, while self-directed behavior decreased in chimpanzees from an average of 9.54-7.81% and in gorillas from 11.02% to 7.38%. Chimpanzees also showed lower intraspecific prosocial behavior in samples with caretaker interactions (P=0.044), decreasing from an average of 11.5% to 5.52% of overall behaviors. Finally, gorillas exhibited less abnormal behavior in caretaker interaction samples than in control samples (P=0.029), decreasing from a mean of 2.42-1.77% of overall behaviors. In chimpanzees, higher agonism and lower prosocial behavior are indicative of greater arousal, although we would expect self-directed behavior to rise rather than decrease in that situation. The results in gorillas are mixed with respect to welfare outcomes: higher agonism is indicative of arousal, but lower abnormal and self-directed behaviors suggest a decrease in stress and anxiety. These findings underscore the importance of understanding the influence of all forms of interaction with heterospecifics and demonstrate a need for welfare assessments that include even positively intended interactions. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.


Ross S.R.,Lester sher Center For The Study And Conservation Of Apes | Vreeman V.M.,Lester sher Center For The Study And Conservation Of Apes | Lonsdorf E.V.,Lester sher Center For The Study And Conservation Of Apes | Lonsdorf E.V.,University of Chicago
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

Chimpanzees are endangered in their native Africa but in the United States, they are housed not only in zoos and research centers but owned privately as pets and performers. In 2008, survey data revealed that the public is less likely to think that chimpanzees are endangered compared to other great apes, and that this is likely the result of media misportrayals in movies, television and advertisements. Here, we use an experimental survey paradigm with composite images of chimpanzees to determine the effects of specific image characteristics. We found that those viewing a photograph of a chimpanzee with a human standing nearby were 35.5% more likely to consider wild populations to be stable/healthy compared to those seeing the exact same picture without a human. Likewise, the presence of a human in the photograph increases the likelihood that they consider chimpanzees as appealing as a pet. We also found that respondents seeing images in which chimpanzees are shown in typically human settings (such as an office space) were more likely to perceive wild populations as being stable and healthy compared to those seeing chimpanzees in other contexts. These findings shed light on the way that media portrayals of chimpanzees influence public attitudes about this important and endangered species. © 2011 Ross et al.


Brosnan S.F.,Georgia State University | Hopper L.M.,Lester sher Center For The Study And Conservation Of Apes
Animal Behaviour | Year: 2014

Innovation is a way by which animals adopt a new behaviour or apply a current behaviour to a novel situation. Although exploring a new behaviour is itself risky for the animal, a growing body of research indicates that it is fairly widespread across animal species. While there have been explorations of when innovation is most likely and which individuals are most likely to innovate, less has been explored about the psychological mechanisms underlying innovation. Here we consider some psychological limits on innovation. We focus on five factors that my limit the invention of novel behaviours (neophobia, conservatism, conformity, functional fixedness and the endowment effect). The feature common to each of these is that individuals tend to stick with existing behaviours, or the existing uses of those behaviours, rather than exploring novel options. This in turn limits animals' willingness to try less common behaviours unless they are forced through circumstances to explore alternate strategies. Despite the similar functional outcomes, it is critical to understand the underlying mechanisms present in different situations in order to make strong predictions about when innovation is, or is not, expected to emerge. We then consider how transmission biases and social learning mechanisms influence and limit the spread of inventions among individuals. Of course, these 'limits' are beneficial in other circumstances, and throughout this review we consider the trade-offs for these psychological mechanisms. © 2014 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.

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