What Mountain Gorillas Can Teach Us about Gendered Behaviors

A population of Mountain Gorillas recently underwent a complete upheaval in the most central aspects of their gender-based social structures. If they can do it, so can we. … More What Mountain Gorillas Can Teach Us about Gendered Behaviors

New Research Characterizes Mountain Gorilla “Friendships”

“I get by with a little help from my friends.” The more we look, the more we find. This is especially true when it comes to the social dynamics of animals. Scientists continue to document the complex nature of social relationships, particularly in birds and mammals. It seems we are constantly saying, “I didn’t know animals did … More New Research Characterizes Mountain Gorilla “Friendships”

Koko, Washoe, and Kanzi: Three Apes with Human Vocabulary

(A long discussion of animal communication can be found in my book.) In the last 40 years, there have been many apes that have been taught to communicate with humans using sign language or other means, but the most famous among them are Koko the gorilla, Washoe the chimpanzee, and Kanzi the bonobo. These are … More Koko, Washoe, and Kanzi: Three Apes with Human Vocabulary

The “Trimates,” The Founding Mothers of Primatology

Science moves so fast in our modern era that we forget how young some scientific disciplines really are. Darwin founded evolutionary biology just over 150 years ago. Mendel did the same for modern genetics around the same time, although his work didn’t blossom (pardon the pun) until several decades later. The scientific study of animal behavior didn’t really … More The “Trimates,” The Founding Mothers of Primatology

Other Primates Use Speech and Vocabulary

(A longer discussion of animal communication is found in my book.) Human language seems so much more complicated and organized than anything experienced by animals. Nevertheless, animals do indeed communicate complex ideas using precise, intentional communication. Some primate species even have discrete audible words with unambiguous meanings. In other words, they have their own spoken languages and … More Other Primates Use Speech and Vocabulary