Can apeing around resolve workplace conflicts?
Thursday 8 April 2004
The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is launching a major new study into human and chimpanzee behaviours. Chimps are our closest living relatives, and as such share a variety of similarities, not only in genetic make-up but also in expression and behaviour
Animal behaviour experts at ZSL are asking the public to 'talk chimp' in everyday life and see how primate patter can resolve workplace conflicts, express emotions and strengthen human bonds. The results of this major study will then be published later in the year to see just how 'talking chimp' can help in everyday life.
The research coincides with the opening of our new chimp facility at Whipsnade Wild Animal Park, we are investigating these similarities to enable us to communicate even better with our chimps and to also see what we can learn when it comes to communicating with our human colleagues.
"We believe that we can learn a lot from chimp behaviours and employing them in everyday life will enable us to communicate more effectively with other people. Chimps live in complex social groups, not unlike the human environment and we hope to establish just how similar our communications are with those of our closest living relatives," said David Field, ZSL's Curator of Mammals.
Chimps are highly social and communicative animals that use their bold facial expressions and subtle body language to convey a wide variety of emotions, just like humans. Volunteers are asked to behave the way a chimp would in certain situations, for example, the dominant male can often be seen parading around the group, brandishing objects and making as much noise as possible in order to assert his authority over the chimps, while a less influential animal might be seen grooming his more senior counterparts.
To take part in the study, visit the website at www.zsl.org to download our survey and return the completed paper to be analysed and included in our report to be published later in the year. The survey illustrates a variety of chimp behaviours and explains how they can be used in everyday life.
Whipsnade Wild Animal Park will be holding daily chimp talks on-site to introduce visitors to chimp behaviour and to explain the dynamics within our group of chimps in their new 'Chimpnasium'.
For further information and images, please contact:
Nathalie Golden, ZSL Senior PR Officer
Tel: 0207 449 6280
Notes to editors:
- A copy of the 'talking chimp' survey is attached, further images can be supplied
- Studies indicate that we share between 95 and 98 per cent of our genetic material with chimpanzees
- Scientists studying chimp behaviour have identified at least 32 different calls
- Chimps are sociable animals and live in groups
- Chimps are endangered due to hunting for the bushmeat trade and habitat loss
- There is a family of seven chimps at Whipsnade Wild Animal Park
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