2010 marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. Louis Leakey sending Jane Goodall to Gombe Stream, in Tanzania, to begin her groundbreaking study of chimpanzees in the wild. The chimpanzee behavioral research she pioneered there has produced a wealth of scientific discovery. This significant and vital part of scientific history will be celebrated by The Leakey Foundation, in partnership with the California Academy of Sciences. Anne Pusey, former Director of Jane Goodall Institute's Center for Primate Studies, will discuss this important project, which spans 50 years and is still running today.
Dr. Pusey reviews how the Gombe study has revealed the basic structure of chimpanzee society, the nature of social relationships within and between the sexes, life history patterns, and how these resemble and differ from those of humans.
Despite 50 years of study, chimpanzees are slow to give up their secrets and continue to surprise us. Pusey will discuss how long-term data, coupled with new technologies, have facilitated investigations of previously intractable questions and how new observations of unexpected behavior continually generate new questions.
The evening is illustrated with rarely seen archival photographs, video and recent stories of the Gombe chimpanzees.
Anne Pusey is Professor and Department Chair of Evolutionary Anthropology at Duke University. She is interested in understanding the evolution of sociality, social structure, and the patterns of competition, cooperation and social bonds in animal species, including humans.
Anne Pusey discusses how female chimpanzees leave the communities in which they were born upon reaching adolescence, a habit likely developed to avoid inbreeding. Sharing similarities to many human societies, does this chimp practice point to a shared trait passed down from a common ancestor?