Koko the gorilla has passed away

Posted by Dave Switzer under From the web

Koko, the gorilla who learned sign language, has passed away at the age of 46. During her life through books and videos she was able to reach out to people and inform them about gorillas — how smart they are, how they have emotions, and how they can be funny. She lived at a place […]

Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist

Posted by Dave Switzer under Reviews of TV shows

{4.5/5} “Digit really looks forward to the daily contacts as a source of entertainment. He often invites play by flopping over onto his back, waving his stumpy legs in the air, and looking at me smilingly as if to ask, ‘How can you resist me?’” Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist, aired in 2017 Dian […]

New species of orangutan discovered

Posted by Dave Switzer under From the web

A population of orangutans has been studied and determined to be a distinct species, Tapanuli orangutans. They live on the island of Sumatra, which is part of Indonesia. Unfortunately there are less than 800 of them, which makes them endangered. Here’s the story from CTV News: Scientists discover new orangutan species in Sumatra Hopefully the […]

Great apes know when you’re mistaken

Posted by Dave Switzer under From the web

We’ve been studying great apes for decades, but once in a while we find out something new. A study published in the journal Plos One found that great apes understand when a human is mistaken — for example, when a human goes to grab something from a box but the something has been moved to […]

Project Nim

Posted by Dave Switzer under Reviews of movies

{4.5/5} “Chimps aren’t humans. You have to… understand chimps to be able to understand how to work with them and be with them.” In 1973 HerbertĀ Terrace, a professor at Columbia University, decided to do an experiment to see how much sign language could be taught to a chimpanzee. Nim was given as a baby to […]

Genome sequence of bonobo completed

Posted by Dave Switzer under From the web

All the great apes have now had their genome sequences completed — which mean scientists know all about their DNA. Bonobos and chimpanzees are members of the same genus — the last common ancestor of the two species was probably around a million years ago. It’s possible that bonobos and chimpanzees were divided into two […]

For more information on apes

Posted by Dave Switzer under From the web

The classification “great ape” consists of bonobos, chimpanzees, gorillas, humans, and orangutans. These are our closest relatives in the animal kingdom — we share 99% of our DNA with chimpanzees and bonobos. Bonobos were only identified as a species distinct from chimpanzees in 1933. Louis Leakey sent three women into the field to learn about […]

Ape House

Posted by Dave Switzer under Reviews of books

{4.5/5} “He’d had a two-way conversation with great apes. He’d spoken to them in English, and they’d responded using American Sign Language… He’d looked into their eyes and recognized without a shadow of a doubt that sentient, intelligent beings were looking back.” Ape House by Sara Gruen, published in 2010 This novel tells the story […]

Genome sequence of gorilla completed

Posted by Dave Switzer under From the web

The genome sequence of gorillas has just been completed. What percentage of our DNA do we share with gorillas? If you guessed 98% you’re right. How many million years ago was our last common ancestor with gorillas? If you guessed 10 you’re right. Why should you care? Well, if you don’t find this inherently fascinating, […]