Researchers at The University of Manchester are using computer simulations of chimpanzees to improve not only our understanding of how the animals walk, but also the technology we use to do it. The research, being published by the Royal Society Open Science Journal, shows how simple changes to'machine learning' algorithms can produce better looking, more accurate computer-generated animal simulations. Professor Bill Sellers, from the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, says: "Starting from an animal's skeleton, computers using machine learning can now reconstruct how the animal could have moved. However, they don't always do a good job. "But with some simple changes to the machine learning goals we can now create much more accurate simulations.
Since the 1920's, some researchers and studies have suggested that chimps are'super strong' compared to humans. These past studies implied that chimps' muscle fibers - the cells that make up muscles - are superior to humans'. But a new study has found that contrary to this belief, a chimp muscles' power output is just about 1.35 times higher than human muscle of similar size - a difference the researchers call'modest' compared with historical, popular accounts of chimp'super strength' being many times stronger than humans. When all factors were integrated in a computer model, chimp muscle produces about 1.35 times more dynamics force and power than human muscle Dr Brian Umberger, a researcher at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a co-author of the study, said that the researchers found that this modest performance advantage wasn't actually due to strong muscle fibers found in chimpanzees compared to humans - but due to the different mix of muscle fibers found in chimpanzees compared to humans. According to the authors of the research, if the long-standing, untested assumption about chimpanzee's exceptional strength was true, it'would indicate a significant and previously unappreciated evolutionary shift in the force and/or power-producing capabilities of skeletal muscle' in either chimps or humans, whose lines diverged about 7 or 8 million years ago.
Our distant ancestors may have swung from branches and knuckle-walked like a chimpanzee – challenging recent thinking that the earliest hominins did neither. That is the conclusion of an analysis of 4.4-million-year-old Ardipithecus ramidus, thought to be one of the earliest known hominins. In popular thinking, humans are often imagined to have evolved from a chimpanzee-like ape, but many researchers now challenge this idea – particularly in light of fossil evidence from A. ramidus that was published in 2009. One well-preserved individual – nicknamed Ardi – had bones that suggested it typically walked along branches like a monkey rather than swinging below them like a chimp. This hinted that our last common ancestor with chimps also walked along branches, and that chimps evolved to swing and knuckle-walk after they branched off from hominins.
Human activity is wreaking havoc on chimpanzee "culture," a study suggests, as we continue to expand into what had been wild areas in central and western Africa. Cultural behaviors drop by as much as 88 percent, the study said, for the chimps that live near humans. Study authors suggest the animals' behavior diversity should be protected along with the species itself. "In one national park, chimps are known for fishing algae. In another they crack nuts or have certain hunting methods or fish for termites," said study lead author Hjalmar Kühl, a primatologist at Germany's Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
Chimpanzees living at Africa's Loango National Park in Gabon are attacking and killing gorillas that also call the region home in what researchers are saying is a first in the scientific community. A team of scientists from Osnabrück University and the Max Planck Institute suggest two lethal attacks are a result of the animals competing for food that is diminishing because of climate change, researchers note in a press release. Prior to the deadly incidents, researchers observed nine occasions during 2014 through 2018 where chimpanzees and gorillas interacted peacefully and even co-fed in fruiting trees. The harmony came to a screeching halt in 2019, when, on two occasions, chimps formed coalitions and attacked a group of gorillas for a combined 124 minutes that ended with two dead infant gorillas. The second encounter ended with a dead, mutilated infant that was almost entirely consumed by one adult chimpanzee female.