Monday, February 29, 2016

Chimpanzee Accumulative Stone Throwing - our 1st PanAf paper!

Our very first PanAfrican Programme: the cultured chimpanzee paper is out today in Scientific Reports!

We have already had some stone throwing videos up on Chimp&See, you can check them out at the #stonethrow tag group! Below is one of our favourites of Dodge demonstrating hurling a rock at an accumulative stone throwing site:

original video can be found at

You can check out the press release here! (German version here

Abstract of the paper:

The study of the archaeological remains of fossil hominins must rely on reconstructions to elucidate the behaviour that may have resulted in particular stone tools and their accumulation. Comparatively, stone tool use among living primates has illuminated behaviours that are also amenable to archaeological examination, permitting direct observations of the behaviour leading to artefacts and their assemblages to be incorporated. Here, we describe newly discovered stone tool-use behaviour and stone accumulation sites in wild chimpanzees reminiscent of human cairns. In addition to data from 17 mid- to long-term chimpanzee research sites, we sampled a further 34 Pan troglodytes communities. We found four populations in West Africa where chimpanzees habitually bang and throw rocks against trees, or toss them into tree cavities, resulting in conspicuous stone accumulations at these sites. This represents the first record of repeated observations of individual chimpanzees exhibiting stone tool use for a purpose other than extractive foraging at what appear to be targeted trees. The ritualized behavioural display and collection of artefacts at particular locations observed in chimpanzee accumulative stone throwing may have implications for the inferences that can be drawn from archaeological stone assemblages and the origins of ritual sites.

The PanAf is made up of a network of amazing collaborators who made this paper possible, please check them out at:

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

DailyZoo: a chimp name inspired by David Bowie

A new chimp was named recently in a collaborative match by citizen scientists MingMing, AnLand and Eswiniarski and inspired by David Bowie's iconic facial lighting bolt. The new chimp's name is 'Rai' which MingMing explains means thunderbolt in Japanese :)

See the conversation here:

and join us at to help scientists annotate videos from across Africa!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Animal Selfies!

Calling all Chimp&See citizen scientists!
We currently have some bugs in the system so have paused the video viewing right now BUT we have lots for you to help with in Talk!
Ammie Kalan from the science team has just posted a call for help in a project she wants to do on animal selfies! Please click on the link below to read about how you can help her understand how different animals react to a novel object in their environment!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Zooniverse cross-post: Primary School Zooniverse Volunteers

How the chimp 'Kibu' was named :) Thank you so much to the students of ZŠ Brno, Jihomoravské náměstí (a primary school in the Czech Republic) and their teacher Zuzana Macháčková!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Monday, February 15, 2016

We're Back! New site opening and a slightly new way to do chimp IDs :)

AND WE'RE BACK! Tons of new videos uploaded! Lots of new animals to annotate and more chimps to match and name!

Also, we are going to start doing things a little bit different with the chimp naming - we will wait until the end of each site to name all the infants - so anyone that has participated in discussions leading to a match will get to give a chimp name, even if they did not propose the match in the first place smile emoticon

So even if you do not feel super confident with your chimp identification abilities - come and join a discussion on chimp matching, you still might get to name a chimp!

and of course please visit us at!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day!

Long-time Chimp & See participants will know that we have seen a LOT of duikers on the camera trap videos.  Bush duikers, bay duikersJentink's duikers, zebra duikers, black duikers, yellow-backed duikers -- the list just keeps going!  Sometimes it can feel like they're all basically the same animal in a larger/smaller/differently colored package.  But one noticeable difference -- and the reason for this Valentine's themed blog post -- is that Maxwell's duikers and blue duikers (two closely related species together classified as "small grey duikers" on C&S) have strong pair bonds and are often seen together in mated pairs on video, unlike our other duiker species.  One previous study found 75% of adult male blue duikers and 77% of adult females lived in a couple (none lived in a group other than a pair, the rest were all solitary).  As many of you probably know, part of living in a couple is maintaining the relationship, and we've seen blue and Maxwell's duikers doing this in a couple ways: they press the scent glands on their faces together, looking a bit like a double-cheek kiss, and they groom each other by licking.

For your Valentine's Day enjoyment, here are some short clips of duikers interacting:

Thanks to C&S participants for tagging these clips!  If you'd like to see the full videos, they're located herehereherehere, and here.

Hope you have a great Valentine's Day, and we look forward to seeing you at Chimp & See!

Kingdon, Jonathan, et al. Mammals of Africa. Vol. 6. A&C Black, 2013.
Estes, Richard. The behavior guide to African mammals. Vol. 64. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Why We Name Chimps

One of the unique aspects of volunteering on Chimp & See is the ability to give names to the chimpanzees that we discover in the camera trap footage.  Naming primates in research is common, though it hasn't always been.  Jane Goodall disrupted convention when she gave names to the chimps she studied in Gombe, rather than just numbers.  But she knew, as we have all come to know, that each of these animals is an individual, with unique personalities and life stories that must be acknowledged in order to understand them.

In some research organizations, however, naming is still frowned upon, based on the idea that anthropomorphizing subjects can lead to misinterpretation of behaviors, or other biases. On the other hand, animal researchers who name their subjects are able to form closer bonds with them, which results in better care, just as we see with pets (or cars, or boats!).

Since we're trying to identify individuals at C&S, keeping track of which chimp is RWMale03 or RWMale23 can get cumbersome.  So giving a chimp a memorable name is helpful for discussing matches, if nothing else.  As for bias, our sharp citizen scientists don't let naming influence their judgment.  For example, there is the case of Maggie-Ollie, previously thought to be 2 individuals, Maggie & Ollie.  We've also encountered chimps where we initially believed the gender to be male (Charles) or female (Sherri), but closer inspection revealed the opposite.  In all cases, the name choices didn't introduce assumptions that prevented our volunteers from continuing their objective evaluation.

Chimps "Mario" and "Luigi" from the Crimson Dew site
Character images displayed as fair use for educational/research purposes

As mentioned in a previous post ("Chimps as individuals"), volunteers have named well over 100 chimps so far!  We've seen a few different methods for choosing names:

  • Some chimps are named based on a physical trait, such as Belle (a chimp with an especially "pretty" face) and Roux (French for red, to honor this red-haired lady), or a personality trait, such as King (a large older male who seemed respected in his group) and Abile (as in "clever," for a juvenile who was adept with tools).
  • Others are named after real people or fictional characters, like Mario and Luigi (of video game fame), Greg (after TV character Greg House, for a chimp with an injured leg), and Christine (the name of one volunteer's wife) and Teddy (named after a volunteer's son).
  • Finally, some volunteers opt for unconventional names with deeper meaning, for example, Ajali (meaning "chance" in Swahili), Deka (meaning "pleasing"), and Selve (meaning "forest" in French).  These types of names are especially safe bets when the gender isn't certain!

Regardless of how the names are chosen, they always seem to be a good fit!  Plus, it's fun, and a bit of a honor for both the namer and namee!  So much so that the practice has spread to other memorable animals we identify, such as Buster the one-tusked warthog (left tusk), Leroy - the other one-tusked warthog, (right tusk), Molco the green monkey with the broken tail, Rozalie the one-horned Jentink's duiker, and others.

See all our unique chimp (and other animals') names here.  Then, head over to the discussion boards and jump in on the matching process. What do you think would be a good name for a chimp?  If you can help us identify a new one, your name may be chosen for them!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Happy Chinese New Year - Its the Year of the Fire Monkey!

Our moderator AnLand writes "This night the Chinese new year is starting and it's the year of the monkey. To be more precise, the year of the fire monkey! To celebrate this, I post my favorite monkey video of a Western red colobus that is with its reddish-burnt fur coloration just in style for the occasion. ACP0004fpv and ACP0004fpw"

See her post here

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Friday, February 5, 2016

Woodland Park Zoo ZooCrew students using Chimp&See

Woodland Park Zoo ZooCrew students have been using Chimp&See as part of their conservation work! Thanks to everyone involved for helping us identify animals on our camera traps!!! (and thanks to our moderator jwidness for finding this blog post!)

Monday, February 1, 2016

Guinea Baboon Social Behavior

As we work on finishing up Dry Lake, one thing that stood out at this site was the huge number of Guinea baboon videos.  With so many videos, we got to see some really interesting behaviors and interactions!

Guinea baboon social behavior is quite complex and includes a lot of visual, auditory, and tactile communication.  As mentioned previously on the blog, Guinea baboons will often formally "greet" each other by embracing, mounting, lipsmacking, presenting their rears, and/or manipulating each other's genitals (sometimes called "diddling").  These behaviors aren't sexual in nature, rather they seem to confirm the social bonds between the individuals.  After greeting, they may sit next to each other, sometimes leading into a grooming bout.  They may also emit some friendly grunting vocalizations.

Before we get to the videos, two notes of thanks: thank you to Adeelia Goffe (asgoffe) for helping us at Dry Lake and sharing her vast Guinea baboon knowledge, and thank you to all our Chimp & See participants for tagging various behaviors -- the tag collections were a big help in picking out these sample clips!

In the video below, there are three greeting clips.  In the first clip, two baboons embrace, and then start grooming.  They're also grunting during the interaction.  In the second clip, we see both diddling and mounting.  The third clip shows a very complex greeting that starts with the male presenting his rear, then the female presents hers and the male mounts her while she lipsmacks at him.  Finally, they end with an embrace that is partially obscured by the tree.

Guinea baboons also frequently have agonistic (unfriendly) interactions.  They may threaten each other using facial expressions like flashing their pale eyelids.  This may escalate to lunges or chases, or even contact aggression like biting and kicking.  The response to this aggression is often screaming and running.

In this video, there are three agonistic clips.  In the first clip, two females in the middle of the screen threaten a target off camera by flashing their pale eyelids.  The screams are coming from a baboon off camera.  In the second clip, a male repeatedly lunges at another baboon, who responds by screaming.  In the third clip, two baboons bite and grab at each other, then one chases the other off.

Other interactions are specific to infants and juveniles.  Males and females of all ages find infants very appealing and may take infants from their moms.  These interactions can be distressing to both the mom and the infant, though they can also be friendly in nature.  During the weaning period, infants may also be distressed when their moms reject their attempts to nurse or be carried.  They may express this distress by producing a special "weaning call".  Finally, play is a behavior mostly seen between youngsters and can involve many of the same behaviors that adults do (chasing, biting, etc.), but done in a friendly context.

This video shows four clips with infants/juveniles.  In the first clip, an infant is being handled by an adult male before running back to mom.  She then tries to prevent anyone else from handling the infant.  The second clip shows a more friendly infant interaction of an adult male with two infants, while the moms are calm nearby.  In the third clip, a mom rejects her infant while the infant produces a weaning call.  In the last clip, two youngsters play by grabbing at each other and hanging from vines.

Join us soon to help finish up baboon videos (and others) at Dry Lake!  We look forward to seeing you at Chimp & See!