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Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Tutapanda Juu (We Will Climb Up)
Today’s goal was to go into the field with our data-collection team that focuses on mother-infant interactions. This is a project that Jane Goodall started in the 1970s to better understand how chimpanzee behavioral and social development compares to human infant development. Data collection continues to this day and we are in the process of entering this massive dataset at Lincoln Park Zoo.
Today, I accompanied the team on a mother-infant follow to assess how data collection was going and how we could potentially improve it. The chimpanzees were quite high up, though, so we had a brutally steep one-hour climb before we met up with the team. Once there, we found the chimpanzee Sandi and her kids Samwise and Siri travelling through the thick undergrowth.
It was quite hard to keep up, but luckily, they soon climbed a tree and settled down for a long feeding bout, followed by a long grooming session. Sandi was one of the females that I followed for my dissertation research over 10 years ago, so it was wonderful to see her again and get to observe her newest batch of kids. They are a lovely little family, and I was glad that data collection that day was focused on them.
Per park rules, we were only allowed an hour with the chimpanzees, so we soon had to go. Hopefully, we'll see them again soon!
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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