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What Can We Learn from Chimpanzees?. The Descent of Man In his “On the Origin of Species”, Charles Darwin did not speculate on the origins of humans.

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Presentation on theme: "What Can We Learn from Chimpanzees?. The Descent of Man In his “On the Origin of Species”, Charles Darwin did not speculate on the origins of humans."— Presentation transcript:

1 What Can We Learn from Chimpanzees?

2 The Descent of Man In his “On the Origin of Species”, Charles Darwin did not speculate on the origins of humans. In a his subsequent book, The Descent of Man, he postulated, based on the current distribution of primates, that humans originated on the African continent.

3 Primate Relationship

4 Ethology Konrad Lorenz and Niko Tinbergen began the study of animal behavior in the field. Pecking order in hens in 1922 Like Darwins theory of Natural Selection, they focused on aggression and evolution through competition

5 Jane Goodall at Gombe The paleonologist, Louis Leakey sent Jane Goodall to study chimps as a possible way of understanding Homo habilis like those found with stone tools along the lake shore at Olduvai Gorge.


7 Tool Use Jane Goodall was the first to observe tool use in another species besides humans. She has been quoted saying,“If chimps had guns and knives and knew how to handle them, they would use them as humans do.” 1. Termite MovieTermite Movie 2. Sponge MovieSponge Movie 3. Tool Kit MoviesTool Kit Movies

8 Fossil Stone Tools Julio Mercader of the University of Calgary reported, in Feb 2007 PNAS, evidence of chimpanzee nut cracking tool use from 4,300 years ago.

9 Hunting with Spears Iowa State University professor Jill Pruetz made public on Feb 22, 2007 here observations of a chimpanzee fashioning limb that it used to spear and kill a bush baby. Watch the video just after the incident

10 Language In the 1970’s, a lowland gorilla named Koko began to be taught American Sign Language in response to spoken English by Dr. Penny Patterson. Koko currently has a working vocabulary of over 1000 signs, understands ~2000 English words, and commonly signs phrases 3- 6 words long. She has an IQ ranging between 70-95.

11 Japanese Primatology Kinji Imanishi focused on kinship and cooperative relationships (in opposition to aggression). Defined culture as the non-genetic transmission of habits.

12 Culture “Culture is a way of life shared by the members of one group but not necessarily with the members of other groups of the same species. It covers knowledge, habits, and skills, including tendencies and preferences, derived from exposure to and learning from others. Whenever systematic variation in these characteristics between groups cannot be attributed to genetic or ecological factors, it is probably cultural. The way individuals learn from each other is secondary, but that they learn from each other is a requirement. Thus, the “culture” label does not apply to knowledge, habits, or skills that individuals readily acquire on their own.” Frans de Waal

13 Chimps in Atlanta Frans de Waal has embraced the anthropomorphism with chimps and has demonstrated typical human behaviors requiring some form of conscious reasoning: political maneuverings associated with power and sex, as well as more recent demonstrations of reciprocity.

14 Hypothesis Testing & Error

15 Types of Error Researchers can be in error two distinct ways. They can: 1.Dismiss a valid hypothesis, a Type I Error (support the Alternative when the Null is true) 2.Embrace an invalid hypothesis, a Type II Error (support the Null when the Alternative is true)

16 Anthropomorphism & Type II Error Anthropomorphism supports projecting human thoughts and feelings onto animals (embracing the Null Hypothesis) Null Hypothesis = Animals have human-like conscious intentions when they behave like humans. Alternative Hypothesis = Animals don’t have a human-like psychology. To reduce the chance of committing the Anthropomorphic Type II Error, the behavioral sciences have created a institutional bias against interpreting any animal behavior from a human perspective.

17 Anthropodenial & Type I Error Anthropodenial rejects projecting human thoughts and feelings onto animals (Dismiss the Null Hypothesis) The behavior sciences don’t have a symmetrical bias against anthropodenial, and thus it exposes itself to making Type I Errors.

18 The Problem with Chimps The fear of anthropomorphism, or anthropodenial, fails to take into account the shared evolutionary history of chimpanzees and humans, increasing the likeliness that researchers reject the null hypothesis when it is, in reality, true. Shouldn’t our psychology be as conserved as our anatomy and physiology?

19 “Any animal whatever, endowed with well-marked social instincts… would inevitably acquire a moral sense or conscience, as soon as its intellectual powers had become as well developed, or nearly as well developed, as in man.” – Charles Darwin

20 Humanities Uniqueness Man’s special place in the universe has been one of abandoned claims and moving goalposts. From tool use, to language, to culture, man continues to runs face-to-face with the fact that we share a evolutionary history with other life and mostly with our nearest cousin the chimpanzee.

21 Genetic and Genomics In September 2005 the sequencing of the chimp genome was announced.

22 Myosin Gene Example Scientists have discovered a myosin mutation restricted to the jaw muscle that appears to coincide with the beginning of the rapid expansion of the hominin cranium.

23 Bibliography ml? ml? video.html video.html chimps-tools.html chimps-tools.html himps.html himps.html

24 Movies ammals/Pan_troglodytes/ ammals/Pan_troglodytes/ /crawfordvideo.html /crawfordvideo.html

25 Further Reading Jane Goodall (1971) In the Shadow of Man Frans de Waal (1982) Chimpanzee Politics: Power and Sex among Apes Frans de Waal (2001) The Ape and the Sushi Master Frans de Waal (2006) Our Inner Ape

26 Hand Communication Holding out a Hand – the most common gesture but meaning depends on context and can be for begging, bodily contact, or support.

27 Facial Communication Grin – wide baring of teeth expresses fight and distress.

28 Vocal Communication Scream Bark Grunt Whimper Hoot

29 Bodily Displays Bluff Display – when adult males sway their upper body, hoot, show erect hair, and culminating in a circling or charging some member of the group.

30 Reconciliations Chimpanzees are a social species. Reconciliations are used in maintaining group cohesiveness amongst the competitiveness of acquiring food and mates.

31 Must have a good memory of social interactions Intelligent manipulators (interesting word) of not only tools but of social instruments.

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