Department of Primatology
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Deutscher Platz 6
phone.: +49 (341) 3550 - 200
fax: +49 (341) 3550 - 299
Searching for bountiful fruit crops in the rain forest, chimpanzees remember past feeding experiences
Where do you go when the fruits in your favourite food tree are gone and you don’t know which other tree has produced new fruit yet? An international team of researchers, led by Karline Janmaat from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, studied whether chimpanzees aim their travel to particular rainforest trees to check for fruit and how they increase their chances of discovering bountiful fruit crops. The scientists found that chimpanzees use long-term memory of the size and location of fruit trees and remember feeding experiences from previous seasons using a memory window which can be two months to three years ago.
In bonobos, attractive females are more likely to win conflicts against males
Female social dominance over males is rare among mammal species. Bonobos, one of our closest living relatives, are known for females holding relatively high social statuses when compared to males; though this is puzzling as the males are often bigger and stronger than the females. Researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, have now analyzed the dominance relations between male and female wild bonobos and took particular interest in the high social status ranking of some females. The result: It is not female alliances that help females win conflicts. The context of the conflict does not seem to be relevant for its outcome either. Instead, the attractiveness of females plays an important role. If females display sexually attractive attributes, including sexual swellings, they win conflicts with males more easily, with the males behaving in a less aggressive way.
Researchers found that adult wild chimpanzees have developed a certain immunity against malaria parasites
Wild great apes are widely infected with malaria parasites. Yet, nothing is known about the biology of these infections in the wild. Using faecal samples collected from wild chimpanzees, an international team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig and the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin has now investigated the effect of the animals’ age on malaria parasite detection rates. The data show a strong association between age and malaria parasite positivity, with significantly lower detection rates in adult chimpanzees. This suggests that, as in humans, individuals reaching adulthood have mounted an effective protective immunity against malaria parasites.
Taï chimpanzees featured in Hollywood movie
Oscar, Freddy and Isha are the stars of the new Disneynature film CHIMPANZEE which opens in France on February 20th, 2013 and in Germany on May 09th, 2013! This marks the first time ever that a feature film was shot entirely in the wild, and uses footage from the chimpanzees living in the Taï National Park, Côte d’Ivoire and in the Ngogo area of the Kibale National Park, Uganda. The 3 main stars, Oscar, Freddy and Isha, belong to the chimpanzee groups that Max Planck Director Christophe Boesch and his team have studied for the last 33 years in Côte d’Ivoire.
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