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With Great Ape Discovery, a Possible Evolutionary Bombshell

Study suggests Europe was a hotbed for great ape evolution, and possible cradle of humanity

(Newser) - For the first time, researchers have found evidence that two distinct species of great apes coexisted outside of Africa many millions of years ago. It's an important, though contested, discovery that suggests European ecosystems in the Miocene Epoch, from about 23 million to 5 million years ago, "enabled,...

Ability to Joke Isn't Exclusive to Humans
Humans Aren't the Only
Jokers on the Planet

Humans Aren't the Only Jokers on the Planet

Teasing apes suggest 'cognitive prerequisites for joking' evolved at least 13M years ago

(Newser) - You would think poking or slapping a great ape would be ill-advised. But the young chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans who tease their adult counterparts are rarely met with aggression. That's because, according to a new study, even great apes know when a joke is a joke. Researchers analyzed...

Apes Love to Spin, and the Reason May Surprise You
Apes Love to Spin, and
the Reason May Surprise You
new study

Apes Love to Spin, and the Reason May Surprise You

Research suggests that, like humans, they like the feeling of getting dizzy

(Newser) - Researchers in the United Kingdom have discovered that, just like kids with too much sugar and free space to play, great apes—including gorillas, chimpanzees, and orangutans—intentionally spin in circles to get dizzy. By analyzing videos of these apes in action, scientists concluded that it's possible this trait...

For First Time, Non-Humans Get COVID Vaccine
9 Great Apes Get
COVID Vaccine

9 Great Apes Get COVID Vaccine

They're the first non-humans to get vaccinated

(Newser) - The San Diego Zoo has vaccinated nine great apes for the coronavirus after a troop of gorillas in its Safari Park became infected, the AP reports. Officials say four orangutans and five bonobos received COVID-19 injections in January and February, making them the first non-humans to get vaccinated against the...

Police Find Ape's Severed Limbs in the Woods

'It could already be past the statute of limitations,' says a police rep in Germany

(Newser) - German police say the grisly find of an ape's hand and foot in a forest west of Munich appears to be less nefarious than previously thought, and certainly not as outlandish than wildly speculative tips they’ve received, the AP reports. The cleanly severed hand and foot, complete with...

That Bonobo That Likes You? It Really Thinks You're a Jerk

Scientists say this ape species appears to prefer 'hinderers' to 'helpers'

(Newser) - Scientists have long wondered about the "prosocial" activity of bonobos, noting how the apes appear to be more sharing and cooperative than other primates such as chimps, per the Los Angeles Times . But humans may still have them beat after a new study out of Duke University suggests bonobos...

Want to Know If You're Wrong? Ask an Ape
Apes May Be Able
to 'Read Minds'

Apes May Be Able to 'Read Minds'

And know if humans are harboring false beliefs

(Newser) - Now even the great apes are getting in on debunking "fake news"—or, to be more specific, fake beliefs. German researchers have found that the primates can tell when a human is wrong about something, and can even help to remedy the situation, which in this case was...

'Major Extinction Event' Could Hit Primates
Primate Study Finds It's
'Worse Than We Thought'

Primate Study Finds It's 'Worse Than We Thought'

75% are in decline, 60% at risk of extinction

(Newser) - "It's worse than we thought 10 years ago," a researcher says following a "landmark" study on the world's primates that found many could go extinct in the next 50 years. Primatologists studied every primate species—all 504 of them—and found 75% are in decline,...

Your Dog Forgot the Hug You Just Gave Him
 Your Dog Forgot the 
 Hug You Just Gave Him 
new study

Your Dog Forgot the Hug You Just Gave Him

Study finds animals have short short-term memory spans

(Newser) - When it comes to short-term memory, animals have very short ones indeed. A new meta-analysis examined more than 90 memory experiments carried out on 25 species encompassing birds, mammals, and bees. Researchers at Stockholm University and Brooklyn College found that for dogs, events are forgotten after about two minutes—and...

Stopping Tests on Chimps Hurts ... Chimps

NIH move is bad for animals in the long run: research center chief

(Newser) - The NIH is drastically reducing its research on chimps, a move that animal rights advocates hail as humane and long overdue. They've got it exactly backward, writes the director of a research center affected by the move. What they fail to consider is that chimp research doesn't just...

HIV's Origins Stretch Back Millions of Years

Earlier work suggested HIV 'cousins' were much more recent

(Newser) - "Cousins" of the HIV virus are millions of years old—not tens of thousands, as previous research has suggested, according to a new study. Researchers in Seattle examined HIV-like viruses in a range of primates. Genetic changes in monkey and ape immune systems point to the development of such...

Apes Suffer Midlife Misery, Too
 Victim: Apes 

Another Midlife-Crisis Victim: Apes

Slump in happiness mirrors that in humans

(Newser) - While you won't find them buying sports cars or having affairs with their biographers, apes are just as susceptible to midlife crises as their human counterparts, a new study claims. Researchers questioned the keepers of hundreds of captive orangutans and chimpanzees and found that just like with humans, the...

Medical Chimp-Testing May Be Over

Congress reviewing bill to ban all ape testing

(Newser) - Chimpanzees: valuable test subjects, or caged relatives who deserve better treatment? With a ban on all ape-testing now in Congress, the controversial practice dating back to the 1920s may soon be over, the New York Times reports. “Now is the time to get these chimps out of invasive research...

Apeman Fossil Could Be Missing Link

Swinging between species

(Newser) - Have scientists finally found the "missing link" connecting human-like apes to the first human? A South African researcher is convinced he may have tracked down the creature after an exhaustive examination of the partial skeletons of a young female adult and a male child of a hominin that lived...

Scientists Debate Ending Chimp Research

Ethics, declining usefulness cited for the change

(Newser) - After years of using chimpanzees for scientific research—shooting them into space, testing hepatitis vaccines on them, using them for HIV studies—man's closest relative could be nearing retirement, reports the Washington Post . The European Union banned using chimps for scientific research last year, and now the Institute of...

Team Deciphers Orangutan Sign Language

Gestures analyzed to compile 'orangutan dictionary'

(Newser) - A bite of the air, blowing a raspberry, or a backroll means "playtime" in orangutan, say researchers who have completed the most extensive study yet of great ape gestures. The team deciphered the meanings of 40 common orangutan gestures that the animals—the least vocal of the great apes—...

Russian Chimp Goes to Rehab
 Russian Chimp Goes to Rehab 
too much booze, smoking

Russian Chimp Goes to Rehab

Zhora got addicted to cigarettes, beer

(Newser) - Don’t feel bad, Amy Winehouse: Even apes have to go to rehab sometimes. At least one Russian chimpanzee did, if a Reuters report is to be believed. According to a Russian newspaper, Zhora got aggressive at his first home—a circus—before being sent to a zoo, where he...

Half of All Primates Endangered
 Half of All Primates Endangered 

Half of All Primates Endangered

Deforestation, hunting threaten man's closest kin

(Newser) - Nearly half of all primate species on the planet are in danger of extinction, warns a shocking report by a world conservation organization. Destruction of tropical forests, illegal wildlife trade and commercial bush meat hunting are the key threats to man's closest relatives, according to the International Union for Conservation...

Scientists: Dolphins Are 'Non-Human Persons'

New research shows them to be smarter than chimps

(Newser) - Dolphins are not only the world's smartest animal after humans, they're so intelligent they deserve to be classed as "non-human persons." So say scientists who argue their research on dolphins' brains shows it is unethical to keep such animals captive in amusement parks or to kill them for...

Google Issues Disclaimer Over Racist Michelle Image

But company won't pull doctored photo

(Newser) - Hackers have doctored a photo of Michelle Obama to look like an ape and rigged Google search results so it comes up first under an image search of her name. The move prompted Google to take out an ad on the results page, reading in part, “Sometimes our search...

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