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C O U R S E 
Human Evolution: Past and Future
John Hawks, University of Wisconsin
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
Savanna Chimpanzees
Notes taken on January 28, 2014 by Edward Tanguay
if we want to understand early hominids, we have to compare ourselves to our closest living relatives today: the chimpanzees and bonobos
Jill Preutz
primatologist and professor at Iowa State University
has been working with chimpanzees for over a dozen years years in Fongoli, Senegal
living in a unique environment, a Savanna context
they are dealing with some of the environments that our ancient ancestors were inhabiting
these chimpanzees exhibit therefore some unique behaviors compared to other chimpanzees
hunting behavior
social interactions
how they use different parts of the landscape as part of their lifestyle
when she began this research, no one had done extended research with chimps in a Savanna setting before
one issue: no one had ever habituated Savanna chimps before (getting them accustomed to the presence of human researchers observing their activity)
therefore difficult to get funding, since the habituation process could be long and expensive
took four years to habituate them
not just one person but many different kinds of people involved in the research
record their behavior
examine the products and tools that they make
nutritional content of the food they are eating
many grad students working on project
passes on quite a bit of work others on her team, e.g. casts of teeth for dental experts to study
adds to her approach of behavioral psychology which is observational
has to limit the number of people who can work at the site because of restrictions for the chimps
most interesting observed behavior of chimps
the use water purposefully
they soak in water
was surprising because for a long time we thought that chimps were hydrophobic
but as a human you can related to it completely: it is hot in the Savanna
230 incidents of using hunting tools
we have known for a long time that chimpanzees hunt
meat is a relatively small but important part of their diet
very male biased in terms of who is hunting and who's getting the meat
at her site, they found that they not only use tools to hunt
they hunt bush babies (galagos) with a stick
the females, mostly the young females, do more of this kind of hunting than the males, while the males hunt in other ways
now looking at meat sharing or food transfer, out of the top 11 hunters there were six females
food sharing
many of the models of human evolution hold food sharing as important
an infant chimpanzee was taken by poachers
the researchers were able to get her back and put her back in the clan
the first chimp to find it after the researchers put it back, carried it to the mother, saw that the mother had been injured, and that male helped her carry the infant for a few days, although he was not directly related
we tend to think of chimps as behaving in one certain way, but they have personalities that are distinct and constant
in more dense forest environments, there are recorded incidents of aggression between groups and patrolling of borders between groups
in the Savanna, home range is 86 square kilometers
no acts of lethal aggression in 12 years of observation, e.g. no wars with other clans
there has been of course aggression within the group
trying to patrol an area like that doesn't make sense energetically
in Tanzania where Jane Goodall worked, it's 8 square kilometers
we've defined chimps according to this East African chimpanzee model, but West African chimps differ in significant ways
they are a different subspecies, some say they should be a different species
we do things that are in the behavioral range of primates
the chimps are often stressed, for instance from the heat, and they have ways of dealing with this stress, such as submerging themselves in water
how did Jill Pruetz get started
volunteers with chimps in Texas
everybody wanted to study chimps, she wanted to study tamarins
best way to get experience in this field
volunteer in a different country or culture
you need to have experience
it also is the best way to know in a practical sense what you are interested in