Chimpanzees painting


From LiveScience in the USA:

Chimp-Painted Art is Expressive, Even When Painted by Tongue (Op-Ed)

Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO, Humane Society of the United States

September 04, 2013 07:52pm ET

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chimpanzees art, human society of the united states, medical research ethics
Brent is a chimpanzee who lives at Chimp Haven in Keithville, La. Brent is 37 years old and has lived at Chimp Haven since 2006. He is protective of Grandma, Chimp Haven’s oldest resident. He loves to laugh and play. Brent paints only with his tongue. His unique approach and style, while a little unorthodox, results in beautiful pieces of art.
Credit: Chimp Haven.View full size image

Wayne Pacelle is the president and chief executive officer of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). This Op-Ed is adapted from a post on the blog A Humane Nation, where the content ran before appearing in LiveScience’s Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

We do a lot of serious business at The HSUS, taking all kinds of cruelty head-on. But we also celebrate animals, taking stock of the diversity of life and the incredible attributes of the other creatures on the planet.

HSUS supporters may have received an e-mail from me a few weeks ago announcing an art contest — in this particular contest, the artists are very strong, very hairy and very smart.

They are, in fact, chimps — and let’s just say they haven’t been classically trained.

We enlisted six member organizations of the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance, and asked if a chimp at each facility would create and submit a piece of art. Modern, impressionist, abstract expressionist, still life with banana. It was their prerogative.

In the end, six sanctuaries submitted pieces, and 27,000 people cast votes to choose a winner. Jane Goodall, famed primatologist and U.N. Messenger of Peace, also chose her favorite.

Last week, we announced the winners.

chimpanzees art, human society of the united states, medical research ethics

Brent, a 37-year-old chimpanzee from Chimp Haven, won 1st place in a recent chimp-art competition with his unorthodox painting technique of only using his tongue.
Credit: Chimp Haven.

View full size image

Brent’s masterpiece — painted with, of all things, his tongue — won the public vote and his sanctuary, Chimp Haven of Louisiana, won a grant of $10,000 from The HSUS.

Credit: Save the Chimps. Cheetah, of Save the Chimps in Florida, whose seriousness and concentration while painting are unmistakable, placed second in the online voting and also won the coveted selection by Goodall, winning a total of $10,000. Ripley of the Center for Great Apes in Florida won third prize, for a $2,500 grant. The paintings by Jamie of Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, Jenny of Primate Rescue Center, and Patti of Chimps, Inc., convey the unique style of each chimpanzee.
View full size image

chimpanzees art, human society of the united states, medical research ethics

Cheetah is a chimpanzee who lives at Save the Chimps in Ft. Pierce, Fla. The Artist formerly known as Cheetah: Cheetah, estimated to be born in the 1970′s, lived alone in a laboratory for 13 years and endured over 400 over biopsies. He was rescued by Save the Chimps in 2002 and has since discovered his passion for painting.

View full size image

Many people are clamoring and demanding to know how they can get their own chimpanzee art — and let me assure you, your cries will be heard, as we’re planning an online auction of the paintings this fall to benefit NAPSA, of which our own Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch, operated by our affiliate The Fund for Animals, is a member.

We are glad that the chimpanzees at these sanctuaries have the time and security to pursue their creative genius. That was not always the case for them. Brent, Cheetah, Jenny and Jamie were all used in biomedical research. Cheetah lived in isolation for years and was subjected to over 400 liver biopsies. Ripley and Patti were used in entertainment — performing on camera or before crowds.

They are all serving as ambassadors for those chimpanzees who still languish in laboratories and are used in the entertainment industry today.

The HSUS has worked hard to get all chimpanzees out of laboratories and into safe places, and a recent decision by the National Institutes of Health to retire more than 300 chimpanzees along with a proposal by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to list all chimpanzees as endangered under the Endangered Species Act will mean a sharp decline in these exploitive activities. [America's Fleeting Chance to Correct Chimps' Endangered Status (Op-Ed)]

chimpanzees art, human society of the united states, medical research ethics

Cheetah, who lived alone in a lab for 13 years and endured more than 400 biopsies before being rescued by Save the Chimps, won 2nd place in a recent chimp-art competition — he was Dr. Jane Goodall’s selection during judging.
Credit: Save the Chimps.

View full size image

We at The HSUS have always said that making sure chimpanzees are safe in sanctuary is just as important as ending their use in exploitative activities. We are grateful to sanctuaries that work so hard to provide enriching lives for these animals. We will be sure to stop and celebrate the retirement of each and every one. See the rest of the masterpieces here.

Pacelle’s most recent Op-Ed was “Sharks Gain Protections in India, Will U.S. Follow Suit?”. This article was adapted from “From Monet and Picasso to Brent and Cheetah” which first appeared on the HSUS blog A Humane Nation. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. This version of the article was originally published on LiveScience.

Fast Fact Attack: Endangered Species No. 90 – The Common Chimpanzee: here.

Extinct ape didn’t walk upright


This video says about itself:

The Ape That Took Over the World (Documentary)

14 Jan 2013

In 2001, scientists announced an amazing discovery: the oldest skull of a human ancestor ever found. The 3½ million year old fossil was remarkably complete, and unlike any previous fossil find. Its discovery – by a team led by Meave Leakey of the famous Leakey fossil-hunting family – has revolutionised our understanding of how humans evolved.

The great mystery of our evolution is how an ape could have evolved into the extraordinary creature that is a human being. There has never been another animal like us on the planet. And yet ten million years ago there was no sign that humans would take over the world. Instead the Earth was dominated by the apes. More than 50 different species of ape roamed the world – ten million years ago Earth really was the planet of the apes. Three million years later, most had vanished. In their place came something clearly related to the apes, but also completely different: human beings!

From the India Times:

Ancient Apes Didn’t Walk Upright

July 27, 2013, 3:46 pm IST

WASHINGTON: The ancient ape did not walk on two legs like humans do, as was previously believed, a new study has found, contradicting long-held assumptions.

The new study, led by University of Texas at Austin, found a 9- to 7-million-year-old ape from Italy did not, in fact, walk habitually on two legs. The findings refute a long body of evidence, suggesting that Oreopithecus had the capabilities for bipedal (moving on two legs) walking.

The study, published in the Journal of Human Evolution, confirms that anatomical features related to habitual upright, twolegged walking remain exclusively associated with humans and their fossil ancestors. “Our findings offer new insight into the Oreopithecus locomotor debate,” said anthropologists Gabrielle A Russo.

“While it’s certainly possible that Oreopithecus walked on two legs to some extent, as apes are known to employ short bouts of this activity, an increasing amount of anatomical evidence clearly demonstrates that it didn’t do so habitually,” said Russo.

The researchers analysed the fossil ape to see whether it possessed lower spine anatomy consistent with bipedal walking.

According to the findings, the anatomy of Oreopithecus lumbar vertebrae and sacrum is unlike that of humans, and more similar to apes, indicating that it is incompatible with the functional demands of walking upright as a human does.

Human evolution, from vegetarians to omnivores


This video is called CARTA: Bipedalism and Human Origins-Comparative Anatomy from Australopithecus to Gorillas.

From the BBC:

4 June 2013 Last updated at 07:03 GMT

Human ancestors‘ diet changed 3.5 million years ago

By Melissa Hogenboom, Science reporter, BBC News

A new analysis of early human teeth from extinct fossils has found that they expanded their diets about 3.5 million years ago to include grasses and possibly animals.

Before this, humanlike creatures – or hominins – ate a forest-based diett similar to modern gorillas and chimps.

Researchers analysed fossilised tooth enamel of 11 species of hominins and other primates found in East Africa.

The findings appear in four papers published in PNAS journal.

Like chimpanzees today, many of our early human ancestors lived in forests and ate a diet of leaves and fruits from trees, shrubs and herbs.

But scientists have now found that this changed 3.5 million years ago in the species Australopithecus afarensis and Kenyanthropus platyops.

Their diet included grasses, sedges, and possibly animals that ate such plants. They also tended to live in the open savannahs of Africa.

The new studies show that they not only lived there, but began to consume progressively more foods from the savannahs.

Researchers looked at samples from 175 hominins of 11 species, ranging from 1.4 to 4.1 million years old.

Their diet was analysed from the chemical make up of their teeth, identifying the carbon isotopes within them.

The ratios of different types of carbon atoms, or isotopes, in fossils can give clues to what a fossil creature ate because different foods have different carbon isotope signatures.

“What we have is chemical information on what our ancestors ate, which in simpler terms is like a piece of food item stuck between their teeth and preserved for millions of years,” said Dr Zeresenay Alemseged, from the California Academy of Sciences, co-author on two of the papers.

“Because feeding is the most important factor determining an organism’s physiology, behaviour and its interaction with the environment, these finds will give us new insight into the evolutionary mechanisms that shaped our evolution.”

It is not yet clear whether the change in diet included animals, but “the possible diets of some of our hominin kin” has been considerably narrowed down, Dr Matt Sponheimer, lead author of another of the papers, told BBC News.

A new habitat

“We now have good evidence that some early hominins began using plant foods that are not used in abundance by living African apes today, and this probably led to a major change in the way they used the landscape.

“One consequence could be that the dietary expansion led to a habitat expansion, as they could travel to more open habitats more efficiently.

“We know that many early hominins lived in areas that would not have readily supported chimpanzees with their strong preference for forest fruits. It could also be argued that this dietary expansion was a key element in hominin diversification.”

The study has also answered, at least in part, what researchers have long been speculating – how so many large species of primate managed to co-exist.

“They were not competing for the same foods,” said Prof Thure Cerling from the University of Utah, who led one of the research papers.

‘The modern human’

“All these species who were once in the human lineage, ventured out into this new world of foods 3.5 million years ago, but we don’t yet understand why that is.”

As well as looking at non-human primates, the researchers analysed fossils from other animals from the same era and did not find any evidence of a change in diet.

This combined research highlights a “step towards becoming the modern human”, said Dr Jonathan Wynn from the University of South Florida, who led the analysis of Australopithecus afarensis.

“Exploring new environments and testing new foods, ultimately might be correlated with further changes in human history.”

These four complementary studies give a persuasive account of shifts in dietary niche in East African hominins, Dr Louise Humphrey from the Natural History Museum in London, told BBC news.

Australopithecus

Australopithecus was the ape-man ancestor of humans and walked upright
As many as nine different species may have existed two-four million years ago in Africa
The males were up to twice the size of the females. However, even the largest male was quite short compared to modern humans, at only 150cm tall
The species with hefty jaws and massive faces – known as robust australopithecines – are believed by many scientists to belong in a separate genus, Paranthropus

Source: BBC Nature

Multiple studies of carbon isotopes in fossil hominin teeth from southern and eastern Africa document the change from woodland to grassland diet which marked a major step in the evolution of early humans: here.

A newly discovered skull, some 1.8 million years old, has rekindled debate over the identity of humanity’s ancient ancestors. Uncovered at the Dmanisi site in the Caucasus in Georgia, “Skull 5″ represents the most complete jaw and cranium from a turning point in early human history: here. And here.

Ape, monkey evolution discoveries in Tanzania


Artist’s impression of the newly discovered Rukwapithecus, front, and Nsungwepithecus, right (Mauricio Anton)

From Big News Network (ANI):

Oldest evidence of split between Old World monkeys and apes uncovered

Thursday 16th May, 2013

Discovery of two fossils from the East African Rift has provided new information about the evolution of primates, according to a study.

The team’s findings document the oldest fossils of two major groups of primates: the group that today includes apes and humans (hominoids), and the group that includes Old World monkeys such as baboons and macaques (cercopithecoids).

Geological analyses of the study site indicate that the finds are 25 million years old, significantly older than fossils previously documented for either of the two groups.

Both primates are new to science, and were collected from a single fossil site in the Rukwa Rift Basin of Tanzania.

Rukwapithecus fleaglei is an early hominoid represented by a mandible preserving several teeth. Nsungwepithecus gunnelli is an early cercopithecoid represented by a tooth and jaw fragment.

The primates lived during the Oligocene epoch, which lasted from 34 to 23 million years ago. For the first time, the study documents that the two lineages were already evolving separately during this geological period.

“The late Oligocene is among the least sampled intervals in primate evolutionary history, and the Rukwa field area provides a first glimpse of the animals that were alive at that time from Africa south of the equator,” said Nancy Stevens, an associate professor of paleontology in Ohio University’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine who leads the paleontological team.

Prior to these finds, the oldest fossil representatives of the hominoid and cercopithecoid lineages were recorded from the early Miocene, at sites dating millions of years younger.

The new discoveries are particularly important for helping to reconcile a long-standing disagreement between divergence time estimates derived from analyses of DNA sequences from living primates and those suggested by the primate fossil record, Stevens said.

Studies of clock-like mutations in primate DNA have indicated that the split between apes and Old World monkeys occurred between 30 million and 25 million years ago.

“Fossils from the Rukwa Rift Basin in southwestern Tanzania provide the first real test of the hypothesis that these groups diverged so early, by revealing a novel glimpse into this late Oligocene terrestrial ecosystem,” Stevens said.

The new fossils are the first primate discoveries from this precise location within the Rukwa deposits, and two of only a handful of known primate species from the entire late Oligocene, globally.

The scientists scanned the specimens in the Ohio University’s MicroCT scanner, allowing them to create detailed 3-dimensional reconstructions of the ancient specimens that were used for comparisons with other fossils.

“This is another great example that underscores how modern imaging and computational approaches allow us to address more refined questions about vertebrate evolutionary history,” said Patrick O’Connor, co-author and professor of anatomy in Ohio University’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine.

The study was published online in Nature this week led by Ohio University scientists.

See also here. And here. And here.

In Tanzania, Nature Provides Unseen Value for Farmers: here.

Borneo orangutan discovery


This video says about itself:

Hercules the Orangutan – Orangutan Diary – BBC

Sep 20, 2012

Wildlife conservationist Lone Drøscher Nielsen interacts with Hercules, a rescued Orangutan who has been allowed to roam one of the river islands near Lone’s Orangutan sanctuary in Borneo.

From Wildlife Extra:

New population of 200 of world’s rarest orangutans discovered on Sarawak

Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) congratulates Government of Sarawak for protecting globally significant orangutan population

April 2013. A new population of rare orangutans has been found in an area of about 14,000 hectares (140 sq km) in Ulu Sungai Menyang, close to Batang Ai National Park in Sarawak. Local Iban communities had been aware of the existence of orangutans in this area, but until recently no major research had been conducted in Ulu Sungai Menyang.

Just 3 – 4,500 known to exist

The sub-species of orangutan, Pongo pygmaeus pygmaeus, is listed as the most severely threatened orangutan worldwide with a total of between 3,000-4,500 animals, of which 2,000 live in Sarawak in Batang Ai National Park and Lanjak-Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary.

The Wildlife Conservation Society congratulates the Government of Sarawak for protecting a globally significant population of up to 200 of the world’s rarest Bornean orangutans recently found by a team of conservationists in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo.

Melvin Gumal, Director of Wildlife Conservation Society, Malaysia Program, said: “It is indeed wonderful to hear the Government’s initiative towards protecting these orangutan and their habitat especially when preliminary scientific data indicates the existence of a globally significant population.”

Central Borneo

Field surveys were conducted in February by staff from the Sarawak Forest Department, assisted by Sarawak Forestry Corporation, Wildlife Conservation Society and Borneo Adventure. The surveys covered 248 kilometres (154 miles) of transects in the hilly, undulating terrain in central Borneo. Ground surveys were supplemented by data from aerial surveys so that 80 percent of the study area was covered.

995 nests found

A total of 995 nests were found in the area. Fresh nests were found in all transects as well as in the remote areas covered by the aerial surveys indicating recent use of the area by these rare orangutans.

Highest level of protection

Upon confirmation that the area had a globally significant population of the rare sub-species, the Government of Sarawak officially indicated the need to protect this area in perpetuity. It is already a High Conservation Value Forest, considered to have an area of high biological, cultural, economic and livelihood significance.

The Sarawak Government intends to hold a dialogue with local communities and the other key stakeholders to discuss options and to involve them in any conservation effort in the area. The four organizations involved in the survey will conduct a follow-up study in the area to formulate strategic actions involving all stakeholders including the local communities.

WCS orangutan conservation work in the Batang Ai – Lanjak Entimau landscape is supported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Great Apes Conservation Fund.

The population of the rarest sub-species of orangutans was found by a research team from Sarawak Forest Department, assisted by Sarawak Forestry Corporation, Wildlife Conservation Society, and Borneo Adventure.

Canada goose drives away gorilla, video


Jon Campbell, Christian Post Contributor in the USA, writes about this video:

Goose Attacks Gorilla: Video Stuns Viewers as Gorilla Runs From Canadian Goose

April 12, 2013|7:19 pm

A goose has attacked a gorilla at the Sedgewick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas this week, in an extraordinary encounter that left eye witnesses amazed. The amazing attack was caught on camera and the video has since gone viral on the Internet.

Barney is the gorilla at Sedgewick County Zoo, and was the victim of the rare attack this week. He is a 20-year-old western lowland gorilla, and weighs about 450 pounds and stands at a height of about 6 feet.

The gorilla is a native of Africa and has been known to stand up fiercely to his gorilla brothers in his troop to exert his dominance and leadership over the group.

However, nothing he has encountered before could have prepared him for the attack he experienced this week, and he could not have expected the comparatively tiny goose to have gone after him.

But the unnamed Canadian goose, who was not even one of the zoo’s animals, did [not] allow let size restrict it and fearlessly attacked the gorilla.

It is believed that the goose probably had flown all the way from Canada to the zoo and after his long journey was in no mood to put up with any opposition, even from a nearly-500 pound gorilla.

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In the encounter Barney the gorilla was completely minding his own business when the goose went for him. it is believed that the goose had built a nest somewhere on Barney’s zoo turf, and when Barney innocently walked by, too close to the nest the goose attacked to protect what it believed was its territory.

“Keepers reckon the plucky birds have built their nest on Barney’s turf and don’t want some great ape messing with it,” MSN Now has reported.

Barney the gorilla can be seen backing away quickly from the goose attack and clearly did not want any beef with the Canadian.

It has been reported by some outlets that zookeepers do not plan to disturb the goose nest and so Barney and pals will have to beware of that area unless they want another run in with the fearless goose.