Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Ciao a tutti! ChimpandSee.org in italiano!



Ciao a tutti!

Siamo molto felici d'annunciare che il sito web Chimpandsee.org รจ ora disponibile in italiano! Grazie mille alla nostra moderatrice scientifica (e traduttrice!) Vittoria Estienne che ha fatto la traduzione anche mentre era in Guinea! Per cambiare lingua, usate il menu in alto a destra sul sito web ChimpandSee.org. I nostri pensieri sono con tutti in Italia (e con tutti nel mondo!). Speriamo che Chimp&See puo essere un po di distrazione durante questi tempi difficili. Prenditi cura di te!

#coronavirua #covid19 #corona #lavatilemani

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Hi everyone!

We are very happy to announce that the Chimpandsee.org website is now available in Italian! Many thanks to our scientific moderator (and translator!) Vittoria Estienne who did the translation while she was in Guinea! To change the language, use the menu on the top right of the ChimpandSee.org website. Our thoughts are with everyone in Italy (and with everyone in the world!). We hope that Chimp&See can be a little distraction during these difficult times. Take care of yourselves!

Saturday, February 1, 2020

The very Best of 2019!

2019 has been a great year for Chimp&See. We re-launched our online citizen science project on the new Zooniverse platform after a thinking, tinkering, and testing phase that took us longer than we had hoped it would. But we finished the beta testing in April, tinkered a bit more, and re-opened the Chimp&See project in mid-July 2019 with two new exciting sites: a savannah-woodland research area in West Africa called “Xenon Bloom” and a rainforest habitat, our first in region B and home of the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees called “New Dragonfly”.

The project attracted again many volunteers helping us to classify and annotate our video clips. To date, more than 1,700 old and new volunteers are active and made over 300,000 classifications. We already identified quite a number of chimpanzees (see below for the volunteers’ favorite individuals) and could finally study algae fishing in chimpanzees up close with our cameratrap footage.

So, 2019 was quite a highlight for the team!

In December then, we asked you about your “Best of 2019” – your biggest surprise, creepiest and funniest clips, the best camera reaction, and of course your favorite chimpanzees. We compiled all nominations, made poll, and here are the results from your votes:

Favorite chimp(s): Beatrice and Ozzy
 
After leading the polls right from the beginning our lovely and strong Beatrice has to share the win of the "Chimp of the year 2019" with Ozzy! His votes made a big jump up in the last day. No doubt, he has fans, too. So, we have two winners: Beatrice, a female adult with at least one offspring in tow and Ozzy, an elderly looking adult male, who enjoys his food.



The biggest surprise 


The creepiest clip 


The funniest clip 


And last, but not least: the very best camera reaction 


If you want to see all the nominees check out the nomination playlist or the original Talk thread.

Thanks to all who voted, nominated, classified, and tagged videos at Chimp&See! We hope to see you around furthermore this year. Please come over and discover the secret life of chimpanzees.

Monday, December 9, 2019

New MonkeySee (part 2): Monkeys and prosimians at Xenon Bloom

In part 1 of this series, we introduced the new MonkeySee workflow. Here in part 2, we visit the first live MonkeySee workflow for the Xenon Bloom site, a mixed savannah and woodland habitat in West Africa. Let’s have a look at the monkey and prosimian species you can watch and learn about at Xenon Bloom. 

Category: Baboons


Guinea baboons (Papio papio) are the enthusiastic stars of the Xenon Bloom show. They are often seen in bigger troops and have a rich repertoire of social behaviors and vocalizations. Just go to Chimp&See and check out some special greeting rituals and other interesting aspects of their social life. We were very excited to see “play swimming” of juveniles as most primates are known to avoid getting wet.


Guinea baboons have thick, light reddish- to greenish-brown fur. Their faces are hairless, with purplish-black skin and the squared, a bit dog-like muzzle that is typical of baboons. Their rumps are bare and pinkish in color. Males have a mane, though sometimes subtle. Females can display bright pink swelling. The newborn infants have a considerably darker color than adults.
The Xenon Bloom site is situated where the geographic ranges of Guinea and olive baboons meet. Until now, we did only see Guinea baboons, but might encounter here olive baboons, too.

Category: Chlorocebus


The Green monkey (Chlorocebus sabaeus) is a medium-sized and semi-terrestrial monkey with light golden fur on the head, back and tail, and lighter gray or white fur on the chest and legs. The face and ears are dark, though lighter in younger individuals


Category: Colobus


We did not actually expect to see colobus monkeys in this rather open habitat. But surprisingly, there has been a King colobus in several videos already. The King colobus (Colobus ploykomos) is a species of Western black-and-white colobus. It has a black coat of rather long fur, especially on the back. The face is black, with a halo of short white fur around it that extends down the throat and chest, and the on the shoulders. The long tail is all white.

The surprise guest - a King colobus - in the back and a female Guinea baboon in the foreground

Category: Patas Monkey


The Patas monkey (Erythrocebus patas) is my personal favorite. Patas monkeys occupy exclusively the savannah grass- and interspersed woodlands. They almost never venture into closed forest habitat. It is the fastest-running primate and normally seen on the ground.


Patas monkeys are bright reddish-brown from the top of their head down the back of their body and their long slender tail. The face, chest and legs are a light to medium gray. They usually have a distinctive black line of fur at the brow line that may extend to the ears on either side. Males are much larger, with more dramatic coloration and a mane.

Category: Prosimians


Prosimians are not monkeys, but belong to a more primitive group of primates, along with lemurs. We use this new category for the nocturnal galagos and pottos

Galago

Galagos (genus Otolemur),  also called bushbabies are very small nocturnal primates. As many animals active at night, they have large eyes that glow in our infrared night footage. They have round ears and a rather bushy, long tail. They can be seen climbing, but are actually some formidable jumpers.


Potto (Perodicticus potto) 

The potto is another type of prosimian, nocturnal like the galago, but larger. It has a short tail, thick fur, large round eyes and lobster-claw like hands that it uses to grasp branches. It climbs slowly through the tree canopy, rather than jumping, and is rarely, if ever, on the ground. It will be a surprise when we actually see a potto at Xenon Bloom.

Xenon Bloom's MonkeySee classification interface lists some other species that might be seen here, but still haven't. Watch out for sooty mangabeys, red colobus, or Campbell's mona monkeys as well.

The primate descriptions in this post are based on the comprehensive Monkey Guide created by Chimp&See citsci moderator Kristeena Sigler.

Check out MonkeySee at Chimp&See and enjoy amazing primate clips from this beautiful West African landscape!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

New MonkeySee (part 1): What is new and how does it work

In September, we opened the new MonkeySee workflow for the monkey aficionados among you. This workflow presents volunteers exclusively with videos of monkeys and prosimians during classification to determine the exact species. These videos have already been pre-sorted in the Species ID workflow and at least four people said that one or more monkeys or prosimians are seen. The video is then moved to the MonkeySee workflow for further specification. This two-step classification process allows Chimp&See to annotate videos faster and in more detail at the same time.

The process is faster, because the science team knows already after four (unanimous) classifications that monkeys or prosimians are present. And after only four more annotations in MonkeySee (again provided the volunteers agree on the species), the videos are retired with all individual species labels applied. In addition, videos with more than one primate species can be easily identified with the new workflow. This wasn’t possible before.

Here is how it works


MonkeySee presents the volunteers first with a video and broader categories of primate groups, like baboon, chlorocebus, or prosimian, as well as an absence category. The volunteer chooses then between single species options in the next step. The species choices include all species that are known to be at this site and species that haven’t been confirmed there yet, but those ranges are close. So, there is a reasonable chance to actually see them at the site we're working on and confirm (or add to) known species ranges.

A detailed tutorial helps with species identification.


If you want to try out MonkeySee, go to Chimp&See and choose the MonkeySee workflow under the Welcome banner. The current site Xenon Bloom with its mixed grass- and woodland habitat features some unique savannah primates, for instance the highly entertaining Guinea baboons.

Enjoy! Be a Citizen Scientist and help us annotate African wildlife videos at Chimp&See.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Update on the leopard mini-project

In July, Chimp&See re-launched the new project interface at Zooniverse with an upgrade of new workflows and remodeled discussion forums that facilitate exchange of the volunteers with the science team and among each other. At the same time, we re-launched the leopard mini-project that aims to assess the density of this important chimpanzee predator at all PanAf sites by identifying individual leopards.

The new interface enables us to have a dedicated discussion board for leopard videos and discuss questions related to leopards and other predators. Here the volunteers can post leopard videos they found during classification and discuss individual match proposals. Every video will be tagged by the volunteers with #leopard and the site name. We also ask for behavioral tags (like #marking, #resting, or #hunting), the sex, if seen, and to tag which sides of the body are visible in the video (front, back, left, or right). For discussing individual leopards in match proposals, it is important to compare the same side of the body for assessing the identity of the highly individually-specific pattern of spots and rosettes for any given leopard.

An example of a rather difficult perspective for identifying this gorgeous
leopard as the pattern is highly distorted. Original video here
In the first months of identifying leopards, we discovered that often for us the best perspective on the leopards from the Chimp&See video footage is the back view, when a leopard is walking away from the camera. The side views that many scientists use are, of course, even better, but rarely displayed in our footage and often distorted (see image above). Many cameras are set up facing animal trails, so when the leopard is walking slowly, we have the best chance to get a good look on the pattern found on the hind limbs and a reasonable number of images to confirm their identity. You can see here an example from “Tau”, a named male from the Quiet Wood site.

The images are stills from two videos captured on two separate days and different locations. Find more videos of Tau here.
The leopard video list and any information about the individuals seen are stored in the new open leopard spreadsheet. This spreadsheet, which we hope to automate partly in the future, replaces the old static known and prospective list for leopards. A storage solution for images of the identifying fur pattern will be added soon. The currently running Xenon Bloom site in West Africa already features beautiful leopards and we hope to name the first individual soon. You should ge involved.

If you want to discuss leopards and see how we identify individuals, please come over to Chimp&See, help us classify videos, and discuss with us!