February 12, 2008—Two western lowland gorillas in Congo's Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park embrace before mating face-to-face, as seen in photos released today.Lowland gorillas had never before been seen mating face-to-face, and no wild gorilla had ever been photographed using this behavior, the Wildlife Conservation Society announced. The mating style, though, is seen among gorillas in captivity.[...]"Leah was lying on the ground and George was looking into Leah's eyes," researchers wrote in the report.
Leah appears to be a rather special gorilla.In 2005 she made news as the first gorilla ever seen to use tools in the wild when she was observed using a walking stick to cross a swampy forest clearing.Such tool use was considered surprising for wild gorillas, which some believe are less intelligent than other species of tool-wielding great apes."That is why this story is so cool," Max Planck's Breuer said. "The fact that it's the same female makes it extremely interesting."[...]Most primates mate facing the same direction."Bonobos [mate face-to-face] routinely—zoo gorillas and zoo chimps too," said Craig Stanford, an expert in great ape behaviors with the Jane Goodall Research Center at the University of Southern California (USC).
February 22, 2007For the first time, great apes have been observed making and using tools to hunt mammals, according to a new study. The discovery offers insight into the evolution of hunting behavior in early humans.No fewer than 22 times, researchers documented wild chimpanzees on an African savanna fashioning sticks into "spears" to hunt small primates called lesser bush babies.[...]Chimpanzees are well-known toolmakers. In the 1960s primatologist Jane Goodall famously observed chimps using sticks to fish termites out of mounds.And Stanford's research has shown that chimpanzees are highly efficient hunters of colobus monkeys."But we've never discovered chimp populations that made the cognitive leap to put those two [skills] together and use weapons to assist in their hunting," Stanford said.[...]USC's Stanford said the word "spear" is an overstatement that makes the chimpanzees sound too much like early humans.He prefers "bludgeon.""They seem to be using it to hit the animal hard, and having a point on the end certainly helps," he said.
"New and improved" could describe a brush-tipped probe invented by wild chimpanzees in Africa that found it did a better job than previous versions of the tool at gathering termites for consumption, according to a new study.The discovery adds to the growing body of evidence that technological advancements are not limited to human populations.[...]At the termite site, "they complete tool manufacture by modifying the end into a 'paint brush' tip by pulling the stem through their teeth, splitting the probe lengthwise by pulling off strands of fiber, or separating the fibers by biting them," added Call, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology.
Those gorillas won't have a chance to evolve if people don't stop killing them.
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