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Monday, May 18, 2009
Sokwe Kwatuana (Chimpazees Groom Each Other)
I am spending as much time as possible in the forest so I can learn to maneuver through the machaka and learn to identify the chimpanzees. Machaka refers to thick undergrowth, but I like to think of it as the “ninjas of the forest,” as my arms have received their fair share of scratches from branches and thorns. But I am happy to report that my bob-n-weave skills are improving, and I am able to fake out the machaka.
After asking “Ni nani?” (“Who is that?”) many, many times to the field guides, I am also beginning to learn to identify the chimpanzees. Chimpanzee faces are just as distinct from each other as my face is to my brother’s face. The only challenge is developing an image of the differences, such as the brow ridge or hair color/pattern.
The photo shown was taken as I was watching a group of chimpanzees and practicing identifying them. As you can tell, it is often difficult to get a clear full-frontal face shot to identify who is who. However, watching them in groom each other and even form a circle while doing so is pretty neat too.
Gombe Field Diaries
Lincoln Park Zoo is partnering with the Jane Goodall Institute to study and conserve chimpanzees in Tanzania’s Gombe National Park, the site of Jane Goodall’s groundbreaking research. Our Gombe field diaries feature updates as scientists monitor chimpanzee health, study ape behavior and experience life in Gombe.
As director of the Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes, Lonsdorf leads Lincoln Park Zoo efforts in Gombe National Park.
Rachel Santymire, Ph.D.
An endocrinologist in the Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology, Santymire studies stress and reproduction in Gombe's chipmanzees.
A graduate student in the Committee on Evolutionary Biology at the University of Chicago, Matt is studying how levels of play in Gombe¹s chimpanzees influence stress, development and reproductive success.
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