Pathology of Chimpanzee Skeletons At Kibale

Paleopathology, for all practical purposes, is the study of the diseases and traumas that affect humans in the past. Necessarily, it is restricted to the study of the skeleton which severely limits the scope of what diseases can be studied. Even with that restriction a wide variety of questions can be addressed. We can, for example, ask how the change in lifestyle from hunter-gatherer to agriculturalist impacted human health. Or we can look at disease patterning in a given lifestyle. We can also look at whether disease and trauma differentially affect a given group such as young versus old or male versus female.
Since chimpanzees are our closest living relatives, understanding the diseases and traumas that impact the chimp skeleton might shed some light on human evolution. We can ask, for example, what selective factors impact chimpanzees It goes without saying that it would also be helpful to conservation biologists as well. There is a growing body of literature on the subject.

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Interesting Chimpanzee Videos

The recent chimp hissy fit thrown by the residents at UD reminded me of some videos I wanted to post…

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Chimpanzees Should Never Be Pets!

They occasionally signed a few words to each other, although Byrne had often said that sign language was irrelevant to their relationship. From time to time Byrne believed that their discussions, however they communicated, verged on the philosophical. It was as if Nim was questioning Byrne, asking him over and over, “Why am I here? Why am I locked in this cage?” Byrne had thought seriously about the answer to that question. He concluded that Nim was not asking to escape but making a more poignant comment on the injustice of his captivity. – from Nim Chimpsky: The Chimp Who Would Be Human
I have been without DSL for the last couple of days – according to the repairman it is because squirrels and telephone wires do not mix. The problem was fixed earlier today. In catching up one of the posts I noticed was an excellent post, by Sheril Kirshenbaum, on keeping chimpanzees as pets (I hope this post means Sheril is feeling better).

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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!