Tag Archives: Primates

* NIH to retire all research chimpanzees

Fifty animals held in “reserve” by the US government will be sent to sanctuaries. The US National Institutes of Health once maintained a colony of roughly 350 research chimpanzees. Two years after retiring most of its research chimpanzees, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) is ceasing its chimp programme altogether, Nature has learned. In […]

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‘Digital chimp’ trove preserves brains of retired apes

Decades of studies on chimpanzee brains and behaviour will be captured in an online resource. Panzee the chimpanzee was a skilled communicator that could tell untrained humans where to find hidden food by using gestures and vocalizations. Austin the chimp was particularly adept with a computer, and scientists have been scanning the animal’s genome for […]

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Monkey model discovery could spur CMV vaccine development

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is the leading infectious cause of birth defects worldwide, but scientists have been frustrated in their efforts to develop a vaccine to protect against infections. Among the most confounding problems is the lack of animal models that aptly mimic CMV passing from mother to unborn child, as it does in humans. Aside from […]

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What makes a leader? Clues from the animal kingdom

As the American media continues to buzz over who is more or less likely to secure the Republican and Democratic nominations for U.S. President, researchers in the journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution review some interesting perspectives on the nature of leadership. The experts from a wide range of disciplines examined patterns of leadership in […]

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Immune responses provide clues for HIV vaccine development

Recent research has yielded new information about immune responses associated with–and potentially responsible for–protection from HIV infection, providing leads for new strategies to develop an HIV vaccine. Results from the RV144 trial, reported in 2009, provided the first signal of HIV vaccine efficacy: a 31 percent reduction in HIV infection among vaccinees. Since then, an […]

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* Genes linked with malaria’s virulence shared by apes, humans

The malaria parasite molecules associated with severe disease and death–those that allow the parasite to escape recognition by the immune system–have been shown to share key gene segments with chimp and gorilla malaria parasites, which are separated by several millions of years, according to a new study led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public […]

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* Paralysis: Primates recover better than rodents

Monkeys and humans exhibit greater motor recovery than rats after similar spinal cord injury, according to a study conducted in Grégoire Courtine’s lab at EPFL. The study results have been published in Science Translational Medicine. Spontaneous improvement occurs during the first six months after a spinal cord injury, allowing a hemiplegic patient to recover partial […]

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Chimpanzee personality linked to anatomy of brain structures

Chimpanzees’ personality traits are linked to the anatomy of specific brain structures, according to researchers at Georgia State University, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and University of Copenhagen. The findings, published online in the journal NeuroImage in August, reveal that both gray- matter volumes of various frontal cortex regions and gray-matter volume […]

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* Primates have been infected with viruses related to HIV for 16 million years

Disease-causing viruses engage their hosts in ongoing arms races: positive selection for antiviral genes increases host fitness and survival, and viruses in turn select for mutations that counteract the antiviral host factors. Studying such adaptive mutations can provide insights into the distant history of host-virus interactions. A study published on August 20th in PLOS Pathogens […]

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Major advance toward more effective, long-lasting flu vaccine

Scientists from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) and the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) have found a way to induce antibodies to fight a wide range of influenza subtypes — work that could one day eliminate the need for repeated seasonal flu shots. “This study shows that we’re moving in the right […]

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Chimpanzees found to survive in degraded and human-dominated habitats

A chimpanzee population in Uganda has been found to be three times larger than previously estimated, according to research published in the open access journal BMC Ecology. The study suggests that chimpanzees may adapt to degraded habitats better than expected, but also highlights the importance of new and more focused conservation strategies. The protected Budongo […]

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* Synthetic DNA vaccine against MERS induces immunity in animal study

A novel synthetic DNA vaccine can, for the first time, induce protective immunity against the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus in animal species, reported researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. David B. Weiner, PhD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and colleagues published their work in Science […]

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Where commerce, conservation clash: Bushmeat trade grows with economy in 13-year study

Conservation laws also likely drove increased hunting on Bioko Island in Central Africa. The bushmeat market in the city of Malabo is bustling–more so today than it was nearly two decades ago, when Gail Hearn, PhD, began what is now one of the region’s longest continuously running studies of commercial hunting activity. At the peak […]

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New evidence of cultural diversification between neighboring chimpanzee communities

For centuries it has been thought that culture is what distinguishes humans from other animals, but over the past decade this idea has been repeatedly called into question. Cultural variation has been identified in a growing number of species in recent years, ranging from primates to cetaceans. Chimpanzees, our closest living relatives, show the most […]

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Brain area found that may make humans unique

The brains of macaque monkeys do not integrate abstract information in the same way as human brains. Neuroscientists have identified an area of the brain that might give the human mind its unique abilities, including language. The area lit up in human, but not monkey, brains when they were presented with different types of abstract […]

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Majority rules when baboons vote with their feet

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At the Mpala Research Center in Kenya, field biologists get to know their study subjects. Observing the simultaneous interactions and decision-making of a 30-member troop of olive baboons was impossible before the advent of high-resolution GPS technology. Olive baboon troops decide where to move democratically, despite their hierarchical social order, according to a new report […]

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Wild chimps teach scientists about gene that encodes HIV-fighting protein

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Different people can vary substantially in their genetic susceptibility to viruses, including HIV. Although the biology that underlies this variation in humans is still being uncovered, it seems that we may be able to learn some key lessons from our closest cousins. A gene variant in chimpanzees in a Tanzanian wildlife preserve probably protects them […]

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Study suggests chimps have cognitive capacity for cooking

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Many of the cognitive capacities that humans use for cooking — a preference for cooked food, the ability to understand the transformation of raw food into cooked food, and even the ability to save and transport food over distance for the purposes of cooking — are also shared with chimpanzees, new research suggests. These days, […]

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US government gives research chimps endangered-species protection

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The decision will prohibit most research on captive animals. Wild and captive chimpanzees will now be treated equally under US law. Chimpanzee research in the United States may be nearly over. On 12 June, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced that it is categorizing captive chimpanzees as an endangered species subject to legal […]

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For spider monkeys, social grooming comes with a cost

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Social grooming, or helping others to stay clean and free of lice and other ecto-parasites, has long been associated with hygiene and good health in wild primates. In the process of picking out ecto-parasites, however, the groomers may be picking up internal ones, a new study finds. The results of the study on critically endangered […]

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Alzheimer’s origins tied to rise of human intelligence

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Alzheimer’s disease may have evolved alongside human intelligence, researchers report in a paper posted this month on BioRxiv. The study finds evidence that 50,000 to 200,000 years ago, natural selection drove changes in six genes involved in brain development. This may have helped to increase the connectivity of neurons, making modern humans smarter as they […]

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Lowly ‘new girl’ chimps form stronger female bonds

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Low-ranking ‘new girl’ chimpanzees seek out other gal pals with similar status, finds a new study. The results are based on 38 years’ worth of daily records for 53 adult females in Gombe National Park, Tanzania, where Jane Goodall first started studying chimpanzees in the 1960s. The researchers are still working out whether the low-ranking […]

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* Mountain gorillas stuck in genetic bottleneck

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Kaboko, a mountain gorilla, had a rough start in life: in 2007, the three-year-old orphan was caught in a poacher’s snare in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Rescuers, who were forced to amputate his hand to treat his injuries, gave him a name that means “one missing an arm” in a local language. Kaboko […]

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Critically endangered monkey photographed in Congo’s newest national park, Ntokou-Pikounda

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Two primatologists working in the forests of the Republic of Congo have returned from the field with a noteworthy prize: the first-ever photograph of the Bouvier’s red colobus monkey, a rare primate not seen for more than half a century and suspected to be extinct by some, according to WCS (the Wildlife Conservation Society). The […]

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Female chimps more inclined to use tools when hunting

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It was a discovery that changed what researchers knew about the hunting techniques of chimpanzees. In 2007, Jill Pruetz first reported savanna chimps at her research site in Fongoli, Senegal, were using tools to hunt prey. That alone was significant, but what also stood out to Pruetz was the fact that female chimps were the […]

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Touch-sensing neurons are multitaskers

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Two types of touch information — the feel of an object and the position of an animal’s limb — have long been thought to flow into the brain via different channels and be integrated in sophisticated processing regions. Now, with help from a specially devised mechanical exoskeleton that positioned monkeys’ hands in different postures, Johns […]

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* Ebola whole virus vaccine shown effective, safe in primates

The vaccine, described today (March 26, 2015) in the journal Science, was developed by a group led by Yoshihiro Kawaoka, a University of Wisconsin-Madison expert on avian influenza, Ebola and other viruses of medical importance. It differs from other Ebola vaccines because as an inactivated whole virus vaccine, it primes the host immune system with […]

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Clues to aging from long-lived lemurs

When Jonas the lemur died in January, just five months short of his thirtieth birthday, he was the oldest of his kind. A primate called a fat-tailed dwarf lemur, Jonas belonged to a long-lived clan. Dwarf lemurs live two to three times longer than similar-sized animals. In a new study, Duke University researchers combed through […]

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* Baboon friends swap gut germs

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Baboons take turns grooming each other to make friends and cement social bonds. A new study finds that baboon friendships influence the microscopic bacteria in their guts. Previous studies have pointed to the food we eat, the drugs we take, genetics, even our house dust. Now, a new study in baboons suggests that relationships may […]

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Gorilla origins of the last two AIDS virus lineages confirmed

Two of the four known groups of human AIDS viruses (HIV-1 groups O and P) have originated in western lowland gorillas, according to an international team of scientists from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, the Institut de Recherche pour le Developpement, the University of Edinburgh, and others. The scientists led […]

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