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Latest Nim Chimpsky Stories

2010-03-15 15:56:06

When we notice somebody pointing at something, we automatically look in the direction of the gesture. In humans, the ability to understand this type of gesturing (known as declarative communication) may seem to be an automatic response, but it is actually a sign of sophisticated communication behavior. Numerous studies have tried to determine if great apes (for example, chimpanzees and bonobos) are able to understand declarative communication, but results have been mixed. Psychological...

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2010-02-02 07:35:00

Sharing is a behavior on which day care workers and kindergarten teachers tend to offer young humans a lot of coaching. But for our ape cousins the bonobos, sharing just comes naturally. In fact, according to a pair of papers in the latest Current Biology, it looks like bonobos never seem to learn how not to share. Chimpanzees, by contrast, are notorious for hogging food to themselves, by physical aggression if necessary. While chimps will share as youngsters, they grow out of it. In several...

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2009-12-21 15:15:00

The use and control of fire are behavioral characteristics that distinguish humans from other animals. Now, a new study by Iowa State University anthropologist Jill Pruetz reports that savanna chimpanzees in Senegal have a near human understanding of wildfires and change their behavior in anticipation of the fire's movement. An ISU associate professor of anthropology, Pruetz and Thomas LaDuke, an associate professor of biological sciences at East Stroudsburg (Pa.) University, co-authored the...

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2009-10-14 09:29:39

The evolution of altruism has long puzzled researchers and has mainly been explained previously from ultimate perspectives"”I will help you now because I expect there to be some long-term benefit to me. However, a new study by researchers at the Primate Research Institute (PRI) and the Wildlife Research Center (WRC) of Kyoto University shows that chimpanzees altruistically help conspecifics, even in the absence of direct personal gain or immediate reciprocation, although the chimpanzees...

2009-10-13 09:45:00

BOSTON, Oct. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A recently released paper published in the journal Alternatives to Laboratory Animals (ATLA 37, 399-416), presents a serious challenge to long-standing claims that animals are an important part of human cancer research. "An Examination of Chimpanzee Use in Human Cancer Research" found that chimpanzees, our closest genetic relatives, have contributed little to combating cancers and cost society not only time but wasted research dollars. The paper...

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2009-07-02 06:45:00

According to a recent study, chimpanzees are capable of building their own tools after watching demonstration videos. The report, which appears in the Royal Society journal Proceedings B, says the animals were shown footage of a trained chimp constructing a tool with two components for a food reward. When the chimps were given the same components after viewing the footage, they could build the tool and use it to obtain a treat. According to the researchers, this demonstrates how powerful...

2009-06-28 13:04:38

A TV actress who plays a forensic anthropologist asked U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., to support a bill that would phase out some experiments on chimpanzees. The Great Ape Protection Act, introduced recently in the House, would phase out invasive experiments on chimpanzees and would release federally owned chimps to sanctuaries. Emily Deschanel, who portrays Dr. Temperance Bones Brennan in the crime drama Bones, late last week asked Waxman, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce...

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2009-06-08 13:35:00

New research finds that chimpanzees remember the precise location of their favorite fruit trees.In fact, their spatial memory is so exact that they are able to locate a single tree among more than 12,000 others within an entire forest, primatologists have found. Furthermore, the chimps also remember how productive each tree is, and decide to travel further to eat from those trees they know will provide the most fruit.Scientists say such an ability may have helped steer the evolution of...

2009-06-08 12:54:22

Humans, from ancient exchanges of food to modern day home mortgages, have bartered or traded to receive something that they couldn't achieve on their own. It's the basis of the economy, and it requires a leap of faith to believe that each party will receive a payoff in return for taking a risk.When confidence breaks down, such as what happened during the recent collapse of the housing market, the economy slows.The willingness to take risk is based at least in part on the reputation of trading...

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2009-03-10 10:30:00

A Swedish study showed on Monday what it believes to be the first evidence that an animal other than humans can make spontaneous plans for future events, the Associated Press reported. Researchers have been observing a 31-year-old alpha male chimpanzee named Santino collect small stashes of rocks to throw at patrons of the Furuvik Zoo, about 93 miles north of Stockholm. The chimp's anti-social behavior stunned both visitors and keepers at the zoo and researchers soon became interested in his...


Word of the Day
tesla
  • The unit of magnetic flux density in the International System of Units, equal to the magnitude of the magnetic field vector necessary to produce a force of one newton on a charge of one coulomb moving perpendicular to the direction of the magnetic field vector with a velocity of one meter per second. It is equivalent to one weber per square meter.
This word is named for Nikola Tesla, the inventor, engineer, and futurist.