Earth: New AI software can recognize and track chimpanzees in the wild. “Using more than 10 million images from Kyoto University’s Primate Research Institute (PRI), scientists at the University of Oxford have just developed new artificial intelligence software that can recognize and track the faces of chimpanzees in the wild.”
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. “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.”
BBC: Facial recognition tool tackles illegal chimp trade. “Wildlife criminals had better watch out! The same software that recognises you in a friend’s social media post is being adapted to tackle the illegal trade in chimpanzees.”
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.
Futurism: New Facial Recognition Software Tracks and Protects Endangered Primates. “Facial recognition tech doesn’t have to be creepy or dystopian. We can actually use it for good. Case in point: Researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) developed a facial recognition software program that could help save the lives of endangered primates.”
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.”