The Last Ape: Pygmy Chimpanzee Behavior and Ecology

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Stanford University Press, 1992 - Science - 248 pages
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"Written by one of the world's principal specialists on the pygmy chimpanzee, this is the first comprehensive work on the last of the African great apes to be studied in the wild. Also, the rarest of the great apes, it is found only in the tropical forest region of central Zaire. The Wamba Forest is the site of the longest continuous field study of the pygmy chimpanzee, and this book is a richly illustrated, first-hand account of the author's observations and experiences in Wamba from 1974 to 1985." "The pygmy chimpanzee differs taxonomically and physiologically from the familiar "common" chimpanzee seen in zoos and circuses. It is smaller, darker, and slimmer, stands more upright, and is far more active sexually throughout its life. There are also great differences in its behavior and its social and ecological relationships. Throughout, the author compares the two species, giving the reader an appreciation of their contrasting habits." "Pygmy chimpanzees are thought by some to be the closest living relatives to ancestral Homo Sapiens. As such, they are broadening our understanding of human and prehominid evolution. On the basis of individual survival, they are the most successful of the higher primates. In most primates, "competition" determines how individuals and groups subsist and leave descendants, and dominate or subordinate rank determines relationships between individuals. But by pursuing sexual and quasi-sexual behavior during interactions - between individuals of any age or sex and with remarkable frequency - pygmy chimpanzees conceal the operation of rank and live peacefully together in large groups. Their sexual behavior also promotes food sharing, reduces tensions between males and females, and indeed matches our own in complexity and bonding importance." "After the first chapter, "Why Study Chimpanzees?," the author presents chapters on distribution, social groups and social patterns, food, the behavior of individuals, sexual behavior, and social behavior and social relationships. He concludes with a summary chapter, "Why Are Pygmy Chimpanzees Interesting?"" "The book includes 8 maps and 78 striking photographs that depict the wide behavioral repertoire of the pygmy chimpanzee."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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