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These compelling stories and photographs take us to places like Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda, Ivindo National Park in Gabon, and the Taï National Park in Côte d'Ivoire for an intimate and revealing look at the lives of African wild apes--and at the lives of the humans who study them. In tales of adventure, research, and conservation, veteran field researchers and conservationists describe exciting discoveries made over the past few decades about chimpanzees, bonobos, and gorillas. The book features vivid descriptions of interactions among these highly intelligent creatures as they hunt, socialize, and play. More difficult themes emerge as well, including the threats apes face from poaching, disease, and deforestation. In stories that are often moving and highly personal, this book takes measure of how special the great apes are and discusses positive conservation efforts, including ecotourism, that can help bring these magnificent animals back from the brink of extinction.
The last decade has witnessed remarkable discoveries and advances in our understanding of the tool using behaviour of animals. Wild populations of capuchin monkeys have been observed to crack open nuts with stone tools, similar to the skills of chimpanzees and humans. Corvids have been observed to use and make tools that rival in complexity the behaviours exhibited by the great apes. Excavations of the nut cracking sites of chimpanzees have been dated to around 4-5 thousand years ago. Tool Use in Animals collates these and many more contributions by leading scholars in psychology, biology and anthropology, along with supplementary online materials, into a comprehensive assessment of the cognitive abilities and environmental forces shaping these behaviours in taxa as distantly related as primates and corvids.
How do chimpanzees say, 'I want to have sex with you?' By clipping a leaf or knocking on a tree trunk? How do they eat live aggressive ants? By using a short stick with one hand or long stick with both? Ivorian and Tanzanian chimpanzees answer these questions differently, as would humans from France and China if asked how they eat rice. Christophe Boesch takes readers into the lives of chimpanzees from different African regions, highlighting the debate about culture. His ethnography reveals how simple techniques have evolved into complex ones, how teaching styles differ, how material culture widens access to new food sources and how youngsters learn culture. This journey reveals many parallels between humans and chimpanzees and points to striking differences. Written in a vivid and accessible style, Wild Cultures places the reader in social and ecological contexts that shed light on our twin cultures.
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