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chimpanzees

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tarav

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chimpanzees

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The following is an excerpt from an article by David Suzuki. There are several interesting discussions that can follow from it(DNA studies, chimp classification, origins and spread of HIV, ethical implications). I would like to know what you think about this... "Earth's great apes...share more than 95 percent of their genes with humans. In fact, a recent study implies that chimpanzees really are human. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences looked at the most functional DNA in humans and chimpanzees and concluded that 99.4 percent of it is identical. This suggests that chimps belong in the genus Homo with the rest of us Homo sapiens. ... a recent study on the history of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, has shown that HIV was created by combining parts of two different monkey viruses. Chimpanzees are known to eat monkeys, and it is believed that they were infected with the monkey viruses this way. The viruses then swapped genetic material and jumped to humans, again through bushmeat trade. As we have seen again and again, from Ebola to SARS and now monkey pox, the worldwide trade in bushmeat and exotic animals poses an immediate threat to the environment and human health. Every effort should be made at the highest levels to clamp down on these practices.If chimpanzees share 99.4 percent of our most functional DNA, it's not just about protecting ourselves, it's about preventing what some might call genocide.To discuss this topic with others, visit the discussion forum at www.davidsuzuki.org.
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Re: chimpanzees

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I think Koko the gorilla said it best. When asked if she was a person, Koko replied: "Koko very fine animal gorilla". The degree to which our DNA coincides with other apes is interesting but does not make us the same animal. The question is backwards: looking at animal 'a' and animal 'b', recognizing similarities and differences, the question is, "how does the genetic code do it"?There are features that are diagnostic for human beings; complex language, including grammar and syntax, is instinctive, and absent in the other apes. Also, we are unable to interbreed. So we know we are different species
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Re: chimpanzees

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Your comments are interesting!The most often quoted figure for genetic similarity between chimps & humans is 98.4% but this depends on the criteria used to assess the data.But perhaps more important than the precise, sterile figure is whether chimps are feeling, sentient beings, and the evidence suggests that that is exactly what they are. Cognitively and emotionally it would not be far out to compare them with children of 4 or 5 years old.The Physiologist Jared Diamond has described humans as the third chimpanzee. (the second being the bonobo) I highly recommend his book of that name.
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Greetings PeterDF,Quote: But perhaps more important than the precise, sterile figure is whether chimps are feeling, sentient beings, and the evidence suggests that that is exactly what they are. Cognitively and emotionally it would not be far out to compare them with children of 4 or 5 years old.If we are to compare them with a child of 4 or 5, then this comparison must include the capacity for self-awareness. Are you suggesting that chimpanzees are self-aware?the bricoleur
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Re: chimpanzees

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the bricoleur, I can't speak for Peter, but I would suggest that chimpanzees are self-aware. De Wall discusses Gallup's studies using mirrors as a test of self-awareness. Gallup shows that chimps and orangutans are able to recognize themselves in a mirror. De Wall says, "Gallup went on to equate self-recognition with self-awareness, and this in turn with a multitude of sophisticated mental abilities." I don't know if you've heard of these studies or Frans De Wall, but the book Good Natured discusses the issues of morality, from an evolutionary perspective, regarding apes and humans. Do you think that chimps are self-aware?
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Greetings tarav,Quote:I can't speak for Peter, but I would suggest that chimpanzees are self-aware. De Wall discusses Gallup's studies using mirrors as a test of self-awareness. Gallup shows that chimps and orangutans are able to recognize themselves in a mirror. De Wall says, "Gallup went on to equate self-recognition with self-awareness, and this in turn with a multitude of sophisticated mental abilities." I don't know if you've heard of these studies or Frans De Wall, but the book Good Natured discusses the issues of morality, from an evolutionary perspective, regarding apes and humans. Do you think that chimps are self-aware?I have read the following of De Waal, "Chimpanzee Politics" and "Complementary methods and convergent evidence in the study of primate social organisation" (Behaviour 118:297-320). Of Gallup I have read, "Toward a comparative psychology of mind" (American journal of Primatology 2:237-24 and Gallup with Povinelli, D. J., Suarez, S. D., Anderson, J. R., Lethmate, J. & Menzel, E. W. "Further reflections on self-recognition in primates" (Animal Behaviour 50:1525-1532)---------------------I am in agreement with Dennett when, in his 1976 essay 'Conditions of personhood,' he distinguishes between first-order intentional systems, which most animals enjoy and second-order intentional systems which characterise human cognition. First-order intentional systems are those which have nonconscious "beliefs" and "desires" (or what I would call 'internal maps of the world' and 'drives'). Second-order intentional systems, on the other hand, have "beliefs and desires about beliefs and desires". Once second order intentionality is experienced, further ascensions to higher orders are just a matter of how much an organism can keep in its head at one time. Higher-order representation itself represents a transition from a brain that has "embedded knowledge" to a brain that "enriches itself from within by re-representing the knowledge that it has already represented" (Karmiloff-Smith 1993, related in Dennett 1996:174). Higher-order representations "require the possession by the creature of a theory of mind, within which its concepts of experience and thought will be embedded" (Carruthers 199 . So to answer your question, no But I would like to stress that I do consider chimpanzees to be contemporary, not mere representations of what we used to be like. Much has been made of responses to mirror images implying self-concept. While it has been shown that primates can use a mirror to access information about their own bodies (Cheney and Seyfarth 1990, Jolly 1991), how can this be seen to imply the possession of a self-concept (as claimed by Gallup 1982, Povinelli 1987)? Heyes (1994) criticises the methodology and suggests that Chimpanzees touch marks on their face more in front of mirrors because tests without the mirror were done while the effects of the anaesthesia (that was used when testers applied the mark) were still dominant. Tests in front of the mirror were performed when the subjects had had some time to recover form the anaesthesia. A test procedure that disproves the "anaesthetic artefact" has not been implemented. Heyes suggests a procedure in which the number of times subjects touch marks with the number of times they touch unmarked areas on their face (Heyes 1995b). It should also be mentioned that chimpanzees spontaneously touch their faces more than monkeys or gorillas do and therefore fare better in these tests (Dimond and Harries 1984, Gallup et al. 1995, Heyes 1995b). Of significance here are studies of autistic children who, while incapable of ascribing beliefs to others, appear to be able to use mirrors to inspect their bodies at the same age as normal children (Ungerer 1989). This seems to make the mirror test redundant, showing that these behaviours could be the product of associative learning and inferences involving nonmentalistic processes.Many theory of mind hypotheses infer mental concepts where nonmentalistic interpretations would work just as well
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Re: chimpanzees

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JeremyQuote:Furthermore, statistics about the degree to which DNA is homologous can be highly misleading. We share about 60% of our DNA with yeast; does that make yeast 60% as smart as human beings?Good point.PeterQuote:But perhaps more important than the precise, sterile figure is whether chimps are feeling, sentient beings, and the evidence suggests that that is exactly what they are. Cognitively and emotionally it would not be far out to compare them with children of 4 or 5 years old.It just so happens that one of my good friends is related to a leading Bonobo chimp researcher. Would it be fun to invite her for a chat? I believe she specializes in Bonobo linguistics. My friend plans to talk to her within a week or two about BookTalk, and being our guest. If we do a chat with her I will schedule it long in advance so I can send out a press release. Maybe we can get some media attention.Shelly Williams is her name and she works with this lady. You will see her name down at the bottom as someone who works in the same program.Let me share some exciting stuff that I have found that Shelly is working on. Here is a transcript:Just read the part I post below...SHELLY WILLIAMS, PRIMATOLOGIST: They were rushing at us and I'm telling you they were huge, and... STRIEKER: But Shelly Williams is back from the Congo with more proof that they do exist. Strange mystery apes that might be completely new to science. DUANE RUMBAUGH, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY: Without question what she has brought back is worthy of scientific notice and continued research. STRIEKER: Inside rebel-held territory in northern democratic Republic of Congo, primatologist Shelly Williams continues research on the apes, started several years ago by wildlife photographer Carl Amon (ph). In this forest, known to be populated by chimpanzees, Amon (ph) believed that there was a separate population of larger apes based on tantalizing clues, big footprints, ground nests, fecal samples, an intriguing skull, and eyewitness accounts by villagers. And then last year, Williams shot this videotape, just a few frames revealing a large female ape carrying a baby. WILLIAMS: Doesn't look very much like a gorilla. It doesn't look very much like your common chimpanzee, and it doesn't look like a Bonobo. STRIEKER: The nearest populations of gorillas and Bonobos, so- called pigmy chimpanzees, are hundreds of miles from this region. This year with a few local trackers, Williams got lucky. WILLIAMS: This time we actually could find the groups and track them during the day and follow them for several hours. STRIEKER: She and her team collected samples for DNA analysis. And more videotape confirming how different these primates are from common chimpanzees. WILLIAMS: They have very large feet and they have very large hands. Their faces look somewhat different and their vocalizations are also different. STRIEKER: What are they? Other scientists who've seen these videotapes say much more research is needed to answer that. RUMBAUGH: We cannot rule out the possibility that it is a new species of ape or new subspecies or some form of hybrid. Just a lot of puzzles to be answered through future research. STRIEKER: Williams plans another expedition to the ape's forest later this year. The next step, a permanent research camp for continuing study of the apes and a conservation program to protect them. Gary Strieker, CNN. (END VIDEOTAPE) CALLEBS: And Shelly now joins us to explain why these apes are such an exciting discovery to the scientific community. Shelly, thanks a lot for coming in. Two trips to the Congo and eight to Africa overall. WILLIAMS: Yes. CALLEBS: What was it like and what do you think is going to be the significance of finding what you believe could be a new species? WILLIAMS: To me, personally, it's an accelerating, it's an exciting venture. The expedition is hard work. We're in a very primitive area of the Congo, very isolated, so we're living like the villagers live in an area that has never been investigated in science in any way, so it's probably the last pristine area left in tact in the whole world. CALLEBS: Any concerns that a lot of scientists are trying - are going to rush to that area to see what you photographed? WILLIAMS: It's very difficult to get in and we already established relationships with the people there, and we have the support of the missionaries there. And just to get into the forest is also very difficult. You have to put in a lot of hard physical labor as well as paperwork. CALLEBS: Now you brought us an imprint of a footprint. Tell us why this is so important and explain it to us? WILLIAMS: This is important in that the size of this footprint. CALLEBS: You should hold it this way, please. OK. The size of the footprint...WILLIAMS: The size of the footprint is about 32 centimeters, and we couldn't get all the toes here because it was in the grass. Your average common chimpanzee is 25 to 26 centimeters in length. The Bonobos are a little longer because they have longer limbs, so they are about 28 centimeters. And the largest gorilla footprint taken by George Shallow (ph) was 29 centimeters. Our footprints range from 28 to 34 centimeters long. Very large. CALLEBS: Now, as I understand it too, these apes sleep on the ground?WILLIAMS: Yes.CALLEBS: Chimps sleep in trees... WILLIAMS: Right.CALLEBS: ... to avoid predators?WILLIAMS: Yes. CALLEBS: Any danger to these animals sleeping on the ground? WILLIAMS: I think based on their size and also some experiences I've had with them, one being, we pretended to be -- one of my trackers pretended to be an injured Diker and made the sound of a -- (UNINTELLIGIBLE) -- like that. And all of a sudden the huge apes did come rush us in for the kill. And I'm telling you, these apes were large, they were muscular, they had long limbs, and they were ready to come in until they saw my white face. CALLEBS: Was it a false charge, do you believe, or were they really ready? WILLIAMS: No, they were coming in for the antelope, the Diker. CALLEBS: Now, do you believe you have found a new species? WILLIAMS: I believe that there is something unique and something very different there. In terms of both what the apes look like, their culture, the behavior, their eating habits, and about these nests, these nests on the ground. These apes -- the folklore of the villages that -- they call them lion eaters, lion killers. CALLEBS: So you're talking about a big animal. WILLIAMS: Yes. And so -- and the nests documented on the ground are always near water, which is highly unusual, and they're very deep. They're built like platforms. They have layers of roots underneath, then they have sticks, then they have grass, and then the big leaves on top for a nice comfy bed. So they could be almost two feet deep and they're really nice. CALLEBS: When do you plan to go back? WILLIAMS: Hopefully in October. CALLEBS: Hopefully in October. Shelly, please keep us informed. WILLIAMS: OK.CALLEBS: A fascinating discover. Best of luck to you and we will keep an eye on this one. WILLIAMS: OK. Thanks.CALLEBS: Thanks. Well, when we come back, there is growing concern about one of the many scams our there in cyberspace, trying to rip you off. We will show you what to watch out for.Would this be an awesome chat or what?Chris "When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward,for there you have been, and there you will always want to be."
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Re: chimpanzees

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An article by Shelly Williams...Mobility as Enrichment for Captive PrimatesShelly L. Williams and John W. Kelley Language Research Center, Georgia State UniversityIntroductionGiving nonhuman primates control over their environment helps to reduce stress (Spinelli & Markowitz, 1985). Also, providing novel, ever-changing events to engage the primates' attention reduces boredom and ameliorates the lack of stimulation often observed in captive environments (Washburn & Rumbaugh, 1992).In this article we describe a way to provide mobility to an ape who is too large to be safely transported solely by human strength or with a collar and lead. Our method is safe for ape and caregiver, and requires neither restraint nor sedation of the ape. A similar technique, using mobile caging, has already proven useful in providing social contact and exercise for monkeys in indoor enclosures (Seier & de Lange, 1996). The technique described here is used with larger nonhuman primates (apes), and includes transportation throughout a 55-acre outdoor environment consisting of several buildings and a forest with areas where food can be found (Savage-Rumbaugh, 1987; Savage-Rumbaugh, Brakke, & Hutchins, 1992).Our method utilizes a transport box large enough to house a full-grown chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes). In the box, the ape can communicate to a human its travelling intentions by gesturing, by choosing from options provided by pictures, or (if language-trained) by using lexigrams (Savage-Rumbaugh, 1986; Savage-Rumbaugh, et al., 1992). In this article, we describe in detail our procedures for box training and habituation to movement and noise.Apparatus and SubjectThe transport box is 107 cm long x 107 cm high x 79 cm wide.[See footnote]The frame is constructed of aluminum angle, reinforced by rectangular aluminum bars on all six sides of the frame, and covered on three sides with 9-gauge galvanized steel chain-link. The top of the box is covered by polypropylene. The bottom consists of an aluminum sheet welded to the frame. Spaces are left open to provide for water drainage and easy cleaning.The door of the box is constructed of polypropylene that slides horizontally within a channel. It is held shut by heavy-duty brass locks on one side. Two openings on the front and side of the box serve as pass-through windows. These windows, made of transparent Lexan, slide in aluminum channels. They open easily and can be bolted shut. Four flanges located on each corner of the back side of the box can be locked tightly to four similar connections on the doors of the apes' home cages.The transport box fits perfectly inside a 4-wheeled dolly 16.5 cm high which moves easily on smooth surfaces because all wheels rotate 360deg.. For travelling outdoors, where there are changes in gradient and surface texture, the transport box is rolled up a ramp and secured onto a small wagon that is pulled by a garden tractor. Panzee, an 11-1/2-year-old female chimpanzee, was co-reared with a bonobo (Pan paniscus) and raised by humans (Brakke & Savage-Rumbaugh, 1995). She has actively participated in language acquisition and cognitive assessment projects for almost her entire life. Up to the age of seven years she was able to travel on a lead with a caregiver through 55 acres of forested land. She was allowed to visit other buildings and to watch other apes and humans. When she became an adult, she was housed with other chimpanzees in indoor and outdoor cages.Training Panzee was first allowed free access to the box so that she could investigate and explore its construction. She was then given her daily ad lib food items in her box. She was never deprived of food. Grooming sessions were also given within the box so that she would associate positive activities with box training. Other positive activities included access to pictures, magazines, paper and drawing utensils, blankets or towels, and one of her favorite toys: a mask. This was continued until she appeared comfortable and relaxed in the transport box.The next phase of training required that Panzee allow the caregiver to close the polypropylene door separating her, in the transport box, from the home cage. Close approximations to the desired response were followed with verbal, gestural, and facial praise. The caregiver would be sure Panzee was comfortable as the door moved closer to its locked position. If the ape appeared uncomfortable, nervous, or upset with door movement, caregivers patiently waited until she was ready. Readiness was determined by the ape's posture, gestures, facial expressions, and eye movements. Practice with the transport box occurred daily at various times. Activities in the box varied from session to session.With the door shut and locked, the door to the home cage was also shut and locked. The flange locks were then removed to disengage the transport box from the home cage. Care was taken to move slowly and talk to Panzee about what was to happen next using gestures and eye movements. Initially showing her pictures of where she was travelling or just gesturing impending movement caused much excitement. At first, her transport box was moved about 10 feet into a kitchen area where she could gesture for foods she wanted from the refrigerator.We were then able to take her out onto the sidewalk to visit other locations by loading the transport box onto the tractor-pulled cart. Panzee tolerated the noise and compensated for gradient changes in the ground by grabbing the chain link. At times, she sought physical reassurance from the caregiver by displaying a facial kiss or gently extending her finger out to the caregiver. She appeared excited to see familiar sites and visit familiar apes and people. She vocalized when she met other chimpanzees or bonobos and interacted with people by putting her mask onto her face. If a mask was not available she would make one from a piece of paper by biting one or two holes in it for the eyes. She stayed in the transport box on her first outing for more than two hours and appeared to enjoy the experience. Panzee also asked for various food items and ate them eagerly in her box while watching people and other animals outside. Next we put the transport box into a van with windows on all sides. The box was tightly secured to the inside of the van with nylon straps. Panzee was driven around the laboratory and, again, appeared to enjoy the experience, looking out all the windows from the three directions permitted by the box. She would gesture and grunt when she wanted to go in a specific direction. Eventually she was so relaxed that she took a short nap. Panzee now asks to go into her transport box by grunting to the caregiver to get her attention and then gesturing to the box. Because this now is an attractive experience for her, it can also be used as an incentive for performing other behaviors as requested by the caregiver.DiscussionWe have established the use of this equipment as an environmental enhancement. Panzee readily enters the box when it is available to her and vocalizes her excitement, demonstrating her motivation. We have also successfully trained an adult bonobo to engage in similar activities and are currently training three more adult chimpanzees, two bonobos, and one orangutan.Besides being a flexible tool for environmental enhancement, the box has the potential for numerous other uses. Varying time of day, type of reward, length of stay in box, caretaker, and so forth ensures that no specific aspect of the training would condition the apes to respond only to consistent attributes. This inconsistency can be extremely useful if the ape needs to be transported elsewhere for medical care, isolation, or examination. The box also offers opportunities for training apes to engage in behaviors that are difficult to train for in their home cage (e.g., giving injections, weighing, and testing using computers). This mobility is especially necessary if the testing equipment is located elsewhere - it is usually easier to move the ape than the equipment.Does anyone else read this stuff and feel a surge of admiration and a tinge of jealousy? Can you imagine the feeling of satisfaction such a career would bring?Chris "When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward,for there you have been, and there you will always want to be."
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Re: chimpanzees

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bricoleurQuote:If we are to compare them with a child of 4 or 5, then this comparison must include the capacity for self-awareness. Are you suggesting that chimpanzees are self-aware?I think they must be...from everything I have read about their behaviors. But this would be a fascinating subject to discuss with Shelly Williams.Chris "When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward,for there you have been, and there you will always want to be."
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Re: chimpanzees

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Sounds great. If we do really well, maybe she could get a bonobo to chat with us next time. Science is neither a philosophy nor a belief system. It is a combination of mental operations that has become increasingly the habit of educated peoples, a culture of illuminations hit upon by a fortunate turn of history that yielded the most effective way of learning about the real world ever conceived. E.O.Wilson
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