Day: April 15, 2015

Boyer Ontl on Tool-Assisted Hunting in Chimpanzees

KellyKelly Boyer Ontl co-authored a paper, New evidence on the tool-assisted hunting exhibited by chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) in a savannah habitat at Fongoli, Senegal published in the Royal Society Open Science,

was summarized in numerous news articles highlighting the team’s chimpanzee research including Chimps that Hunt Offer a New View on Evolution from the New York Times, Women are better at DIY (in chimps at least):  Female primates can master and use tools more easily than males from Daily Mailand Female Chimps More Likely Than Males to Hunt With Tools from Smithsonian.

ABSTRACT:

For anthropologists, meat eating by primates like chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) warrants examination given the emphasis on hunting in human evolutionary history. As referential models, apes provide insight into the evolution of hominin hunting, given their phylogenetic relatedness and challenges reconstructing extinct hominin behaviour from palaeoanthropological evidence. Among chimpanzees, adult males are usually the main hunters, capturing vertebrate prey by hand. Savannah chimpanzees (P. t. verus) at Fongoli, Sénégal are the only known non-human population that systematically hunts vertebrate prey with tools, making them an important source for hypotheses of early hominin behaviour based on analogy. Here, we test the hypothesis that sex and age patterns in tool-assisted hunting (n=308 cases) at Fongoli occur and differ from chimpanzees elsewhere, and we compare tool-assisted hunting to the overall hunting pattern. Males accounted for 70% of all captures but hunted with tools less than expected based on their representation on hunting days. Females accounted for most tool-assisted hunting. We propose that social tolerance at Fongoli, along with the tool-assisted hunting method, permits individuals other than adult males to capture and retain control of prey, which is uncommon for chimpanzees. We assert that tool-assisted hunting could have similarly been important for early hominins.

 


SS Talk: Kelly Boyer Ontl on “Chimpanzees in the Island of Gold”

BoyerOntl12:00 noon on Friday, April 17th in AOB 201.

Kelly Boyer Ontl will present: “CHIMPANZEES IN THE ISLAND OF GOLD:  Impacts of artisanal small-scale gold mining on chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) in Fongoli, Senegal”.

ABSTRACT:

 Artisanal small-scale gold mining (ASGM) has a long history in West Africa, supplementing agricultural livelihoods and helping to fuel West African empires, ancient Egypt, and medieval Europe via extensive trade routes. ASGM continues today but has taken on different dimensions through the influence of globalization and mechanization. The widespread practice now threatens the habitat, health and future of West African wildlife including endangered West African chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus). In this talk I will be discussing the socio-ecological impacts of ASGM activity on chimpanzee behavior and resource use at the Fongoli field site in southeastern Senegal. The surge in gold prices over the past 10 years has intensified gold mining in Senegal, increasing transnational migration, human population, and environmental degradation, and consequently altering how chimpanzees use the landscape. The impacts of ASGM are now considered among the species’ largest threat in Senegal, and conservation efforts are underway to protect the country’s remaining chimpanzee population last estimated at 500 individuals.


MTU’s Mine Water Geothermal Team Wins Awards in DC

MTU Mine Water Geothermal Energy Team at DC
Edward Louie, David Anna, Andrew Garrod, Dana Savage, Melissa Michaelson, Krista Blumberg, Nicolette Slagle, and Theresa Tran

Michigan Tech’s Mine Water Geothermal team won 2 awards at the EPA’s National Sustainable Design Expo in Washington DC this weekend (April 10-13). The team won an EPA Honorable Mention Award and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ (AIChE)s Youth Council on Sustainable Science and Technology (YCOSST) Award.

The Honorable Mention Award signifies that the EPA believes the project deserves strong merit for funding and that they would have loved to fund the project for Phase II ($75,000) had funds been available for more teams. The AIChE’s YCOSST award for $1,000 goes to the team which best meets the criteria of award which include: interdisciplinary collaboration, work products which are accessible to people without significant financial ability, and the inclusion of youth in the implementation.