Von Economo Neurons and Hominoids

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I would have more to say about primates, brain evolution, and life history. I still plan on exploring that in future posts, but wanted to mention this interesting item that deserves a post of its own.

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Chimp and Human Genome Compared and Other Interesting Evolution Stories

The chimp and human genomes are being compared in two articles that came out today.

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Book Review: Nim Chimpsky: The Chimp Who Would Be Human by Elizabeth Hess

Washoe was justifiably famous for her use of sign language and everyone is familiar with her story. What may not be as widely known is that Washoe was only the tip of the iceberg. Once upon a time, raising chimps among human families was quite common. Such endeavors served a wide variety of purposes. One, attempt, just as famous as Washoe, concerns a chimp named Nim Chimpsky.

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Chimps and Spearing

Brian has an interesting update on the spear use by Fongoli chimps. Definitely a must read!

The Chimps Continue to Construct a New Niche

Or maybe they are just being observed filling their old niche more frequently. At any rate, the chimps I have blogged about here and here are in the news again. There is not much to report, other than that the use of spears in hunting continues to grow:

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Chimps, Dirt, and Malaria

National Geographic is reporting on an interesting story about self medicating by eating dirt. Chimps in Uganda’s Kibale National Park have been observed eating dirt. Not just any dirt, though, but a type rich in kaolinite:

Experts had previously suggested that chimps ate the fine-grained clay to help ward off intestinal ailments or to obtain added minerals in their diet.

Recent research published in Naturwissenschaften suggests a different reason. Chimps also eat Trichilia rubescens. What happens when the two are combined is quite interesting.

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Chimps, Cultivated Fruits, and Sex

PLoS One recently published a research paper called Chimpanzees Share Forbidden Fruit. The paper reports on studies of crop raiding behavior (and the aftermath) in Bossou, Guinea. The research covered one year and consists of observations on 786 crop raiding events were observed. On 58 (or 7%) occasions the raided items were shared.

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Chimps and USO’s

This is quite interesting especially since I have been working on the next post in my series on this exact issue. Pity the paper doesn’t seem to be available yet…

Washoe Passes Away

Update: If you are so inclined you can say goodbye here and even make a donation if you wish…
According to MSNBC Washoe has passed away. Washoe, for those who haven’t heard of her, was the first chimp to learn the American Sign Language. According to the story, she died of natural causes and was around 42. From MSNBC:

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Ileret Fossils and Primate Sperm Competition

From the Ileret article by Spoor et al:

The intraspecific variation of vault size in H. erectus, including KNM-ER 42700, is larger than in extant humans and chimpanzees, but smaller than in gorillas … This degree of variation may well imply that H. erectus showed marked sexual dimorphism, rather than the reduced levels that characterize the derived condition in H. sapiens …

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