Its a bit rare for me to find as many newsworthy items on the great apes other than the three chimpanzees; I just haven't been interested in the others for years now. Yet what have we here? Honest, intriguing findings that are the results of gorilla studies.
Great apes 'play' tag to keep competitive advantage
ScienceDaily (2010-07-14) -- Gorillas hit-and-run in 'games' of tag in the same way humans do and for the same reason -- to keep their competitive advantage, a new study has found. It is the first study to show apes, like humans, will hit a playmate then run in order to try to get away with the upper hand. ... > read full article
My main beef with orangutans is that they look so alien. I am especially referring to the males and their purple skin, shambling arms, and cheek flanges. Plus, think about it - all the great apes are from central Africa, except the orangs, which are way out on a couple of islands of Indonesia. It means there is a potentially fascinating evolutionary back story, but also that they don't share much in common with humans or even the rest of the apes. The people I know who've gone out there to do field with them tell some nightmarish stories about following them through the trees through the nastiest rain-forest imaginable. But here you have it, one of the worst the Killers references I've seen in quite some time, followed by an interesting article.
Signal like you mean it: Orangutan gestures carry specific intentional meanings, study finds
ScienceDaily (2010-06-17) -- Great ape gestures have intentional meaning and are made with the expectation of specific behavioral responses, according to researchers. The study of meaning in animal communication takes a significant step forward with the authors' new systematic approach to assessing intentional meaning in the gestural communication of non-humans, applied here to a group of orangutan gestures. ... > read full article
Odd they may be, but you'll not likely see me insult orang intelligence.
Finally, a chimpanzee field study by the great Klaus Zuberbuhler and company, yielding impressively metacognitive linguistic findings. Right up my alley.
Chimpanzees are aware of the social impact of their communications, primatologists have discovered.
Chimps communicate using a variety of calls and gestures, including making vocalizations known as pant grunts, which signal subordination. But researchers have found that chimps will change what they "say" depending on who is listening. That reveals a previously unrecognized social awareness that has implications for the origin of human language.
Oops, I lied. Since I like to emphasize that humans are great apes, and close relatives of chimpanzees, I went looking for result research on Homo sapiens and I actually found one I liked.
Too Fine to Sign:
Very attractive job seekers may face discrimination from prospective employers of the same sex, according to a new study just published online in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.
I'm still surprised by the number of upper-middle class (and above) people I encounter who aren't fully aware of our status as apes. Someone should really do something about that.