Monday, September 14, 2015

Matching chimps on Chimp&See and happy surprises that make us check our assumptions!

Happy surprises and checking our assumptions!

When we try to figure out if we are seeing the same chimp in 2 different videos, we very often use secondary clues to figure out if we are looking at the same indivdual or not. For example, if a female is carrying a baby, we often assume that when we see her in other videos she will still be carrying that baby (this is because chimpanzees stay in close contact with their moms for the first 4 to 5 years of their lives). Our cameras are up at each field site for about 12-15 months so we do not expect big changes in growth or appearance, and we can always check the time/date stamp if we suspect something of that nature.

This is exactly how our intrepid citizen scientists figured out that indivduals we had identified as "Maggie" (a female) and "Ollie" (a female with a baby named "Chibi") were actually the same individual! Our amazing citizen scientist moderator "AnLand" started it all with this post:

In the end we went with calling this female Maggie-Ollie, just to make sure we cover all of our bases and to keep it simplest for downstream data analyses. Maggie-Ollie is identified by:
A female with a little cut in the right ear, undamaged left ear. Bald forehead. Whitish beard and eyebrows. Not very robust. Left eyebrow is slightly inclined. Deep wrinkles under the nose, round head and big mouth, and small ventral infant.

If you want to follow along here is the summary of the videos:

Here is the original Ollie/Chibi discussion:

and here is the original Maggie discussion:

If you have some extra time give it a go and join us at identifying unique chimpanzees! Hopefully you will find it fun to get to know the chimps and tell them apart too :)

Chimpanzee Matching

Our citizen science moderators have written some great posts about how to get started on matching and naming chimpanzees from different videos. 

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