DR. CRICKETTE M. SANZ, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, was awarded a Hunt Postdoctoral Fellowship in November 2004 to aid research and writing on 'Behavioral Ecology of Chimpanzees (Pan Troglodytes) in the Goualougo Triangle, Republic of Congo.' Chimpanzees are often used as living primate models for reconstructions of the behavior of our human ancestors. However, many widely held notions of chimpanzee behavior have been based on relatively few populations in East and West Africa. Before proceeding with further interspecific comparisons or generalizations, it is necessary to validate current perceptions of chimpanzee behavior or revise these models to include broader aspects of behavioral diversity. The objective of the fellowship awarded for the 'Behavioral Ecology of Chimpanzees in the Goualougo Triangle, Republic of Congo' was to place findings from a new study site for wild chimpanzees into context with other reports of other populations and use this information to evaluate whether the normative sociality and behavior of this species has been portrayed by information from other sites. The resulting publications are based on six years of field work and provide preliminary descriptions of chimpanzee social structure, feeding ecology, tool using behaviors, and ecological relationships with sympatric western lowland gorillas. Some aspects of chimpanzee behavior such as fission-fusion sociality are confirmed to be common across all sites, whereas others such as specific tool behaviors are unique to this study population representing the central subspecies. The results of this research indicate that as information from the forests of West Africa challenged generalizations about chimpanzee behavior based on observations only from East African populations, information from chimpanzees residing in the forests of the Congo Basin will further expand our perception of these apes with direct implications for the study of human evolution.
Sanz, Crickette M., and David B. Morgan. 2007. Chimpanzee Tool Technology in the Goualougo Triangle, Republic of Congo. Journal of Human Evolution 52(4):420-433.