My Notes on Goodall

Goodall, Jane (1934- ), British ethologist and authority on wild chimpanzees.

From Wikipedia:

One of Goodall's major break-throughs in the field of primatology was the discovery of tool-making among chimpanzees during her study. Though many animals had been clearly observed using 'tools', previously, only humans were thought to make tools, and tool-making was considered the defining difference between humans and other animals. This discovery convinced several scientists to reconsider their definition of being human.[2]

My Life Among Wild Chimpanzees by Jane Goodall, “National Geographic”, 1963

I saw chimpanzees fashion and use crude implements—the beginnings of tool use

Chimpanzees are nomadic within their territory, and they follow no fixed circuit… The distance and direction of their wanderings—they may travel as much as eight or ten miles in a day—depend on the seasonal availability of the fruits, leaves, and blossoms that form the bulk of their diet.

The chimpanzees during much of the year move about in small groups of three to six animals. Such a group, I discovered from observation, may consist of adult males and females, of females and juveniles, of males only, or of a mixture of sexes and ages.

"During the day two or three small groups may join and move about together for a few hours or a few days. In certain seasons, mainly when some kind of favorite fruit is plentiful, I have often seen as many as 25 chimpanzees together". – Availability of food that determines the size of a group.

"What makes the social pattern so complicated is that the small groups are not stable. When two groups which have joined temporarily separate again, there has frequently been an exchange of individuals. Males often leave the group they are with to move about alone, subsequently joining another group or another lone male". – Composition of groups is unstable.

"From my mountaintop perch, I observed how chimpanzees go to bed. Every night each one makes its own sleeping platform, or nest—except for the small infants, which sleep with their mothers until they are about three years old."

Construction of a sleeping place: "The construction of a nest, I found, is simple and takes only a couple of minutes. After choosing a suitable foundation, such as a horizontal fork with several branches growing out, the chimpanzee stands on this and bends down a number of branches from each side so that the leafy ends rest across the foundation. He holds them in place with his feet.

Finally he bends in all the little leafy twigs that project around the nest, and the bed is ready. But the chimpanzee likes his comfort, and often, after lying down for a moment, he sits up and reaches out for a handful of leafy twigs which he pops under his head or some other part of his body. Then he settles down again with obvious satisfaction."

When a chimpanzee is born, it is almost as helpless as a human baby, save that it rapidly develops great strength in hands and feet, enabling it to cling to its mother's long hair as she travels from place to place.

For the first four months the infant never leaves its mother, but after this it begins to venture first a few feet and then a few yards away. It is still very unsure of itself, and the mother is always ready to reach out should it lose its balance.

At about eight years, the chimpanzee child attains puberty, and during the next three or four years of adolescence it gradually takes its place in adult society. How long it might live, no one can say pending further study, but a good guess for average life span in the wild would be 40 to 50 years.

Relationships between mature and adolescent males are particularly harmonious—they do not even fight over females! I once saw seven males in succession mate with a single female, with no sign of jealousy or antagonism.

I am often asked, “Do chimpanzees have a language?” They do not, of course, have a language that can be compared with our own, but they do have a tremendous variety of calls, each one induced by a different emotion. – language as a tool

Chimps tolerate her, and one male develops a friendship with her.

Education of chimps: "infants still sleeping with their mothers at night make little nests as a sort of game, and very instructive play it is. An infant of about eighteen months finds it difficult to bend in even a couple of twigs; each time it reaches out for a second one, the first springs up again. But by the time the young one is ready to sleep alone, it has mastered the nest-making technique"

Primitive communism: "Let me describe the time when Huxley was eating a young bushbuck. He was clasping the carcass with one arm, and it was, incidentally, almost as big as himself! Presumably he had broken its neck, just as other chimps had killed monkeys. In his free hand Huxley held a bunch of twigs and after each mouthful of meat he ate a few leaves—for all the world like a man with a lump of cheese and a stick of celery.

Gathered close round Huxley, and all begging, were three other large males—J. B., Hollis, and William. Several times Huxley tore off a piece of meat and put it into the out-stretched hand of J. B. Once Hollis begged from J. B. and was rewarded with a small bloody splinter. When a youngster of about four years held out its hand, Huxley, after a moment, very gently cuffed it on the head, but a female with a tiny infant was allowed to feed from the carcass unmolested.

The sight of this female tucking it in proved too much for poor old William, who had been begging and begging in vain. He ventured to help himself to a bite. Evidently it was one thing for the mother to share in the spoil, but quite another when William tried to join in. Huxley at once grabbed William and bit him, at which J. B. came racing down and chased the screaming William from the tree."

Diet: "Raw meat, though obviously a great delicacy, is only an occasional supplement to the chimpanzee's diet. Whether the apes deliberately set out to hunt for meat, or merely make kills because of opportunity, remains undetermined. I suspect the latter.

The bulk of the diet is, of course, vegetarian. I have collected 81 different types of vegetable foods eaten by chimpanzees, of which half consists of fruits, a quarter of leaves, and the remainder of seeds, blossoms, stems, and bark."

Making tools: "Termites form a major part of the chimpanzee diet for a two-month period. The termite season starts at the beginning of the rains, when the fertile insects grow wings and are ready to leave the nest. At this time the passages are extended to the surface of the termite heap and then sealed lightly over while the insects await good flying weather. The chimpanzee is not alone in his taste for termites—the baboon in particular has a fondness for the juicy insects, but he must wait until they fly and then take his turn, together with the birds, at grabbing the termites as they leave the nest.

The chimpanzee forestalls them all. He comes along, peers at the surface of the termite heap and, where he spies one of the sealed-off entrances, scrapes away the thin layer of soil. Then he picks a straw or dried stem of grass and pokes this carefully down the hole. The termites, like miniature bulldogs, bite the straw and hang on grimly as it is gently withdrawn.

I have watched chimpanzees fish this way for two hours at a time, picking dainty morsels from the straw and munching them with delight. When they don't have much luck with one hole, they open another and try again.

As the straw becomes bent at the end, the chimpanzee breaks off the bent pieces until the tool is too short for further use. Then it is discarded and a new one picked. Sometimes a leafy twig is selected, and before this can be used the chimpanzee has to strip off the leaves.

In so doing—in modifying a natural object to make it suitable for a specific purpose—the chimpanzee has reached the first crude beginnings of tool making.

…the chimpanzees do not always await the discovery of a termite nest before seeking a tool. I have seen them break off a twig and carry it for as far as half a mile, going from one termite hill to another, though none at the time was suitable for feeding.

It is unlikely that this practice of fishing for termites is an inborn behavior pattern. Among higher primates, behavior is found to depend more and more on learned techniques and less and less on “instincts.” It seems almost certain that this method of eating termites is a social tradition, passed from ape to ape by watching and imitation. As such, it must be regarded as a crude and primitive culture.

Life and Death at Gombe, 1979

The chimpanzee life cycle is not very different from ours—five years of infancy, then a period of childhood, followed by adolescence from about 9 to 14 years. Old age sets in at about 35 years

Chimpanzees use more objects as tools and for more purposes than any creatures except ourselves. They may show cooperation when hunting for food, and when a kill is made (usually a monkey, young bushbuck, or young bushpig), adults may share the prize with one another and with offspring. Friendly social gestures include holding hands, patting one another, embracing, and kissing. Those who have worked closely with chimpanzees agree that their emotions—pleasure, sadness, curiosity, alarm, rage—seem very similar to our own, though this is difficult to prove.

For reasons yet undetermined, in 1970 our main study community began to divide. Seven males and three females with offspring established themselves in the southern (Kahama) part of the home range. During the next two years these individuals returned to the north less and less frequently. By 1972 they had become a completely separate community.

Quite clearly, many of the male chimpanzees expend a lot of energy and run risks of serious injury in pursuit of high status. To what end? In some primate societies the advantages of alpha status are reasonably clear-cut. The top-ranking male baboon, for instance, will sire a high percentage of the infants in his troop

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