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calendar   Sunday - February 09, 2014

chim chimpanzee, chim chimpanzee, chimp chimp churrah

feeling better again. yay. Still awfully tired, sleeping a lot both day and night. Sinus and chest congestion improving, sore throat setting in. Still deaf from congestion. but I can breathe better. Somewhat. Whatever.

Just Monkeying Around

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I’ve been reading all about that Bili-Uele mega-chimpanzee population thingy in the news. Aka the Bondo Mystery Apes. Turns out, like most news, that this is nothing new ... these giant chimps have bee known about for at least 120 years now. Still, deepest darkest Africa. But hey, evolution in action: animals will evolve to fill every niche. No gorillas in their area, so the chimps have grown huge: 5’7” with extreme jaw muscles. Genetically they’re still this one kind of chimpanzee, but this extensive breeding group has developed several significant physical differences. Enough that they were thought to be gorillas 100 years ago. They do live somewhat like gorillas, and seem nearly as bold as men. I had to read several articles before I understood that the thousands of apes in their culture weren’t part of some chimpanzee rain forest proto city-state. They aren’t, but the Bili are the dominate species in the area, and they run patrols to keep other competing animals out. Like leopards and lions, which they capture and eat.

It’s like Twelve Centuries Before Eden. All that’s missing is that moment when God puts in the next spark of even higher cogitation, communication,and self-awareness. Or when some great big black slab shows up, accompanied by ominous yet thrilling orchestral music.

News!!

Huge chimpanzee population thriving in remote Congo forest
Scientists believe the group is one of the last chimp ‘mega-cultures’, sharing a unique set of customs and behaviour

In one of the most dangerous regions of the planet, against all odds, a huge yet mysterious population of chimpanzees appears to be thriving – for now. Harboured by the remote and pristine forests in the north of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and on the border of the Central African Republic, the chimps were completely unknown until recently – apart from the local legends of giant apes that ate lions and howled at the moon.



yeah, but OLDS!!

Until quite recently, even amid the many remote regions of darkest Africa, the possibility of an unknown form of anthropoid existing there yet still eluding scientific recognition seemed ludicrous - but then came the Bili (aka Bondo) ape.

The saga of this remarkable, highly controversial primate began more than a century ago, when in 1898 a Belgian army officer returned home from what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo with some gorilla skulls obtained by him in a forested region near the village of Bili, on the Uele River in northern Congo’s Bondo area - even though no other gorillas had been found within hundreds of miles of Bili before (or since).



Or at least not new news!

Elusive African Apes: Giant Chimps or New Species?
John Roach for National Geographic News April 14, 2003

A mysterious group of apes found in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo in central Africa has scientists and conservationist scratching their heads. The apes nest on the ground like gorillas but have a diet and features characteristic of chimpanzees.
...
Local hunters in the region added to the mystery when they told Ammann and his colleagues about two kinds of chimpanzees in the region. Normal chimps, so-called “tree-beaters,” are easily killed with poisonous arrows when they feed in trees.

Another, large chimpanzee seldom climbs trees and does not succumb to the poison arrows shot by the hunters. Called “lion killers,” these big chimpanzees flee through the thick forest and disappear when shot at by hunters.

Evidence for these giant chimpanzees collected by Ammann includes a photograph of a cadaver alongside the hunter that killed it and casts of some large footprints. The pronounced ridge, called a sagittal crest, on the skull that Ammann found in 1996 is thought to be formed to support large jaw muscles, an indication of large body size.

“Giant chimpanzees occasionally occur here and there in the central and eastern subspecies, but evidence so far indicates that Karl [Ammann] may have a population of giants in his area,” said Groves. “Presumably their giantism is relevant to their ground nesting behavior.”

This group of what appear to be a distinct culture of ground-nesting chimpanzees is the now focus of Ammann’s research. “Work has started on habituating one of the ground nesting chimp groups. This is done by provisioning them with sugar cane,” he said.

Sounds kinda pervy. They’re going to observe this culture by modifying their behavior by turning them into sugar junkies? “habituating”? sounds a bit twisted.



But wait, it’s NEW news on the Samizdat wavelengths; one paper runs it, so all the others chime in!

Researchers in Africa have discovered a huge population of ‘unusually large’ chimps who feast on leopards and giant snails in what is being described as the continent’s ‘last untouched wilderness’.

The previously unknown ‘mega-culture’ was found in the heart of the Bili-Uele forest in the Democratic Republic of Congo by researchers, who trekked thousands of miles dodging armed police and militia to get there.

And they were stunned to see the chimps eating leopard and huge African snails, whose shells they pound open on rocks. ‘We estimate many thousands of individuals, perhaps tens of thousands.’

Unique customs and behaviour across a vast area of 19,000sq miles were recorded by a series of motion-activated cameras.

Gangs of males were seen patrolling their territory and mothers showed their young how to use tools to eat swarming insects.

The camera traps also revealed an extraordinary range of other forest dwellers, including forest elephants, olive baboons, spotted hyena as well as red river and giant forest hogs, crested guinea fowl and aardvark.
...
Hicks’s team first identified the existence of the Bili-Uele chimps in 2007 but their new survey, published this week in the journal Biological Conservation, reveals a vast, thriving mega-culture.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bili_Ape
http://www.wasmoethwildlife.org/index.php
http://www.awf.org/projects/bili-uele-chimp-survey

But it doesn’t really matter whether this is new news or old nrews or even recycled ancient old news. This is knowledge out of deepest darkest Africa, which often needs to be taught time after time until people can hear. Isolated chimps become the dominant species in their area. They change their behavior. They grow considerably bigger as a group, across generations, yet no “official” DNA changes have been found. They change their diet. And it looks like we have no real idea how intermeshed their “culture of tens of thousands” really is. Fascinating.
http://tinyurl.com/k2goexw


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 02/09/2014 at 03:23 PM   
Filed Under: • Archeology / Anthropology •  
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