As proud collaborators of the Jane Goodall Institute’s Gombe Stream Research Center in Tanzania, Uganda’s Kibale Chimpanzee Project intersects with Gombe research methodology as the Project seeks to contribute to our understanding of primate behavioral diversity, human evolutionary ecology, and conservation. For the second day of presentations in honor of Gombe 60, Dr. Melissa Emery Thompson (University of New Mexico) shared more about the work on female chimpanzee life history.
In the mammalian world, female lactation constitutes a daily balancing act of caloric intake verses the energy costs. These costs are associated with producing enough milk for their infant to not only survive, but to also grow and develop into robust and healthy juveniles. This balance also has implications for a mother’s own health and survivorship, often dictating which individuals thrive as reproductive females, and those which cannot – thus refining a species’ evolutionary trajectory.
In this presentation, Dr. Thompson discusses the physiological costs and tradeoffs typically endured by reproductive females of other primate species and compares these to the chimpanzees of Kanyawara, in Kibale National Park. These data show some interesting trends in chimpanzee resilience to what was presumed to be a costly period for nursing mothers, and unlike other species, chimpanzee mothers in Kanyawara show certain physiological and behavioral abilities that challenge this presumption. Tune in to see how nursing chimpanzee females budget their time and resources to successfully raise their infants.
More Presentations Forthcoming
Over the next few weeks, JGI will provide a series of episodes from the IPS Gombe 60 symposium featuring current work at Gombe and in other chimpanzee populations. Speakers will emphasize how the early work at Gombe provided a methodological and conceptual foundation for their own work. Symposium participants will highlight recent advances in areas such as tool use, predation, reproductive strategies, infant development, inter-group aggression and conservation. Stay tuned for more!
And in case you missed it, enjoy Dr. Goodall’s introduction to the conference below: