France24: Scientists produce chimp genetic map to combat trafficking

France24: Scientists produce chimp genetic map to combat trafficking. “Scientists have produced the first genetic map of chimpanzees in the wild, offering a detailed reconstruction of the endangered species’ past migrations, and a new tool to combat illegal trafficking. The genomic catalogue, which includes 828 individuals from across their vast African range, can now be used to link kidnapped chimpanzees — or their meat and body parts — to their place of origin within 100 kilometers.”

The Guardian: US zoo fears teen gorilla’s exposure to phones is behind anti-social behavior

The Guardian: US zoo fears teen gorilla’s exposure to phones is behind anti-social behavior. “Amare, a 415-pound gorilla at Chicago’s Lincoln Park zoo, has been staring a little too frequently at the screens of cellphones from visitors who show him pictures and videos through the glass wall – including selfies, family photos, pet videos and even footage of Amare himself. He has apparently become so distracted as a result that last week, when another teenage gorilla rushed at him in a show of aggression, Amare did not appear to notice.”

Arizona State University: Jane Goodall Institute chimpanzee archive coming to ASU

Arizona State University: Jane Goodall Institute chimpanzee archive coming to ASU. “The physical archive of over 60 years of observations of wild chimpanzees in Gombe National Park, initiated by Jane Goodall — founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and U.N. messenger of peace — and comprising hundreds of thousands of handwritten notes by hundreds of researchers, will find a new home at Arizona State University’s newest, state-of-the-art research building, Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building 7 (ISTB7).”

Associated Press: COVID-19 infections spread through gorillas at Atlanta zoo

Associated Press: COVID-19 infections spread through gorillas at Atlanta zoo. “Atlanta’s zoo says at least 13 western lowland gorillas have tested positive for COVID-19, including 60-year-old Ozzie, the oldest male gorilla in captivity. Zoo Atlanta said Friday that employees noticed the gorillas had been coughing, had runny noses and showed changes in appetite. A veterinary lab at the University of Georgia returned positive tests for the respiratory illness. Zoo Atlanta says it’s waiting on confirmation from the National Veterinary Services Lab in Ames, Iowa.”

Motherboard: People Buy Custom Baby Monkey Torture Videos on World’s Worst Forum

Warning: this is very disturbing. I’m not kidding. You may want to skip it. Motherboard: People Buy Custom Baby Monkey Torture Videos on World’s Worst Forum. “People are setting up private group chats and forums to purchase and share custom baby monkey torture videos, an investigation by animal advocacy groups Action for Primates and Lady Freethinker has found.”

WRAL: NC Zoo animals will get ‘uniquely formulated’ vaccine to protect against coronavirus

WRAL: NC Zoo animals will get ‘uniquely formulated’ vaccine to protect against coronavirus. “The North Carolina Zoo will soon begin vaccinating its animals against coronavirus, starting with the chimpanzees and gorillas. WCNC Charlotte reports the zoo will receive its first shipment of vaccine at the end of July for more than 20 primates. Like humans, each will get two doses. The zoo’s primates will be the first to get their shots.”

CNET: Great apes at San Diego Zoo receive experimental COVID-19 vaccine for animals

CNET: Great apes at San Diego Zoo receive experimental COVID-19 vaccine for animals. “Eight great apes at the San Diego Zoo have each received two doses of an experimental COVID-19 vaccine developed for animals, National Geographic reports. Three orangutans and five bonobos received both shots of the vaccine while distracted by treats, and have reportedly not had any negative side effects. The zoo will soon be able to check for antibodies to know if the vaccine worked as intended.”

EurekAlert: These trippy images were designed by AI to super-stimulate monkey neurons

EurekAlert: These trippy images were designed by AI to super-stimulate monkey neurons. Sounds like Facebook. “To find out which sights specific neurons in monkeys ‘like’ best, researchers designed an algorithm, called XDREAM, that generated images that made neurons fire more than any natural images the researchers tested. As the images evolved, they started to look like distorted versions of real-world stimuli. The work appears May 2 in the journal Cell.”

AP: Chimps varied ‘culture’ matters for conservation, study says

AP: Chimps varied ‘culture’ matters for conservation, study says. “As researchers learn more about Homo sapiens’ closest living genetic relatives, they are also discovering more about the diversity of behaviors within chimpanzee groups — activities learned, at least in part socially, and passed from generation to generation. These patterns are referred to as ‘traditions’ — or even animal ‘culture.’ In a new study , scientists argue that this diversity of behaviors should be protected as species themselves are safeguarded, and that they are now under threat from human disturbance.”

Tarsier Goggles: a virtual reality tool for experiencing the optics of a dark-adapted primate visual system (Dartmouth Digital Commons)

Dartmouth Digital Commons: Tarsier Goggles: a virtual reality tool for experiencing the optics of a dark-adapted primate visual system . “Tarsier Goggles is a virtual reality (VR) project that allows everyone to experience how a tarsier might see. It serves as a tool to engage in hands-on scientific concepts in optics, perceptual science, and evolutionary biology, and also challenges our own thinking about our environment. The experience is self-guided and allows users to toggle between human and tarsier in order to explore different realistic environments with both sets of eyes. Built in Unity3D with SteamVR for the HTC Vive Pro. For various functionalities like teleportation, splash screens, and tooltips for our tutorial, we use Virtual Reality Toolkit (VRTK), an open source library.” Tarsiers are those primates with enormous eyes. MNN has a good overview.

Monkey business: Building a global database of primate conservation studies (Mongabay)

Mongabay: Monkey business: Building a global database of primate conservation studies . “Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, together with researchers at the University of Cambridge (where I work), have just published the results of a three-year project gathering the data on how well primate conservation initiatives have worked to conserve species from lemurs to chimpanzees. The ‘Primate Synopsis’ collects scientific papers and, where possible, NGO reports, testing conservation ‘interventions’ — actions that conservationists might undertake in order to have a favorable impact on these species.”