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African great apes face a dire future from climate change, study finds

Humanity’s closest cousins are in trouble. The great African apes, which includes gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos are renowned for their intelligence and fascinate both scientists and laypeople because of their physical and genetic similarities with humans.

Yet as a recent study in the journal PLOS Climate demonstrates that, even though apes and humans are part of the same family tree, humans are the inconsiderate relatives who destroy their hosts’ home: Human-caused climate change is going to have a devastating impact on ape species throughout Africa....

Originally posted on salon.com

Female chimps discovered to display signs of menopause, a first for non-human primates

The last few months have seen major strides in chimpanzee-related research, from a study that figured out how chimpanzees form rudimentary languages to a study that examined how they reacted to being pranked with fake snakes. Now a study in the journal Science reveals there is evidence that chimpanzees can experience menopause — a phenomenon previously thought was only experienced by humans and certain species of toothed whales....

Originally posted on salon.com

Ape elbows and shoulders evolved differently than monkeys, allowing us to throw with precision

Mary Joy is an undergraduate student at Dartmouth University’s Department of Anthropology — and, additionally, is a climber and runner. Indeed, Joy’s athletic interests have fueled her scientific endeavors in at least one important way: They helped her develop a hypothesis about the evolution of shoulders, elbows and wrists in human beings....

Originally posted on salon.com

Scientists figured out chimpanzees have a rudimentary language by pranking them with fake snakes

Humans are not merely adept at communicating danger — it is seemingly built into our brains. That may be true for most social animals, but not all animals can communicate using specific nouns or verbs to refer to present dangers. That, it seems, is the unique power of human language, an ability that provides a strong evolutionary advantage....

Originally posted on salon.com