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Comparing primate genomes offers insight into human evolution
Comparing primate genomes is an approach that can help scientists understand the genetic basis of the physical and biochemical traits that distinguish primate species. James Sikela and colleagues, for example, collected DNA from humans, chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans to identify variations in the number of copies of individual genes among the different species.  Their work is published in this month's issue of the open-access journal, PLoS Biology. (2004-07-13)

Satellites map volcanic home of Africa's endangered gorillas
Conservation workers have had their first look at satellite-derived map products that show a remote habitat of endangered African mountain gorillas in unprecedented detail. Production versions of these prototype products will help protect the less than 700 of the species remaining alive. (2004-06-29)

Eastern lowland gorilla population plummets 70 percent since 1994
The world population of the Endangered eastern lowland gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri), found almost exclusively in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), has plummeted by more than 70 percent in the past decade. Scientists estimate that fewer than 5,000 individuals remain, down sharply from 17,000 in 1994. (2004-03-30)

For some gorillas, local kin may mean local peace
Scientists studying the western gorilla observed peaceful interactions among neighboring social groups, in contrast to the aggressive male behavior well documented in mountain gorillas. Analysis of DNA from fecal and hair samples of the western gorilla, revealed that these neighboring social groups are often led by genetically related males. These findings suggest connections between genetic relationships and group interactions, parallels with human social and behavioral structures, and clues to the social world of early humans. (2004-03-22)

Bushmeat poses threat of simian retrovirus transmission to humans
Epidemiological research from central Africa in this week's issue of The Lancet highlights how a new form of retrovirus--simian foamy virus (SFV)--can be transferred from primates to humans as a result of hunting for bush meat. Although the effect of simian foamy viruses on human health is not yet known, authors of the research state that a reduction in hunting and consumption of bushmeat will be necessary to prevent the spread of this retrovirus in humans. (2004-03-18)

Primate viruses transmitted to people through bushmeat
Researchers from the U.S. and Cameroon found that people in Central Africa who hunt monkeys and great apes are routinely being infected by retroviruses, the class of viruses that includes HIV. Their study is the first to document the transmission of a retrovirus from primates to people in natural settings. They report the presence of antibodies for simian foamy virus (SFV) in 1 percent of the people tested. (2004-03-18)

Rwanda's primate-rich forests now a national park
One of the world's great centers of primate diversity is now a national park, created in one of Africa's smallest and most densely populated nations. With the help of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), the government of Rwanda has recently established Nyungwe National Park, a rich landscape that contains 13 different types of primate, along with 260 bird species, and more than 260 species of trees and shrubs. (2004-03-09)

Census finds mountain gorillas increasing
A recent census of the Virunga Volcanoes mountain gorilla population has found that the great apes have increased their numbers by 17 percent, according to conservation authorities in Uganda, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and other groups. The results indicate a total of 380 gorillas, up from 324 individuals in 1989, the last time conditions were stable enough to conduct such a census. (2004-01-17)

Ebola virus a threat to great ape populations
The Ebola virus, transmitted to humans mainly by carcasses of gorillas, chimpanzees and duikers (Bovidae), provokes haemorrhagic fever which is usually fatal. IRD researchers and co-workers have just shown that these animals can also be victims of Ebola epidemics. Such outbreaks appear to result from multiple simultaneous transmission events starting from an as-yet unidentified animal reservoir, triggering a drastic decline in great ape populations which has been observed in these areas of Africa. (2004-01-15)

Ebola outbreaks are simultaneous 'mini-epidemics'
Though they may appear as single outbreaks quickly spread by people and wildlife, recent flare-ups of the deadly Ebola virus in Central Africa are actually multiple epidemics of different viral strains, simultaneously appearing when conditions are ideal, according to a study appearing in the journal Science. (2004-01-15)

Gene may be key to evolution of larger human brain
Howard Hughes Medical Institute researchers have identified a gene that appears to have played a role in the expansion of the human brain's cerebral cortex -- a hallmark of the evolution of humans from other primates. By comparing the gene's sequence in a range of primates, including humans, as well as non-primate mammals, the scientists found evidence that the pressure of natural selection accelerated changes in the gene, particularly in the primate lineage leading to humans. (2004-01-13)

Solving the Ebola enigma: satellites will provide clues
As a new outbreak of Ebola haemorrhagic fever strikes northwestern Congo, ESA is set to gather satellite data to help resolve the scientific enigma of this deadly disease. (2003-12-22)

World Summit on the Information Society
Nearly 11 000 people, representing multilateral, international and national organisations, business and media from 176 countries met in Geneva last week at the World Summit on the Information Society to discuss how the information revolution can benefit the world community. (2003-12-15)

Plans finalised for satellites to help safeguard gorilla habitats
A project to employ Earth Observation products to help protect endangered mountain gorillas has moved forward with a Paris-based gathering of all those who will use the data in Central Africa's remote rainforests. (2003-11-04)

Countries find common ground to protect world's rarest gorilla
The Ministers of the environment from Nigeria and Cameroon have established an agreement to protect the Cross River gorilla, the world's rarest subspecies of gorilla that totals a mere 280 individuals throughout its entire range, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). The Cross River gorilla is only found in Cross River State, Nigeria and western Cameroon and is highly threatened from poaching and habitat fragmentation and loss. (2003-09-17)

Early hominids may have behaved more 'human' than we had thought
Our earliest ancestors probably behaved in a much more (2003-08-06)

Satellites to focus on UNESCO World Heritage sites
Earth Observation satellites will help safeguard hundreds of natural and cultural World Heritage sites, under the terms of an agreement signed by ESA and UNESCO at the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget. (2003-06-24)

Catastrophic decline of Africa's apes, Nature says
Scientists from the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society, Princeton University and other organizations have reported in the journal Nature that a dramatic decline of gorillas and chimpanzees is taking place in western equatorial Africa, the last stronghold for great apes on the continent. Ravaged by commercial hunting, and the deadly Ebola virus, gorillas and chimpanzees could be pushed to the brink of extinction during the next decade without immediate protective measures, scientists warn. (2003-04-06)

Wild ape population undergoing 'catastrophic' decline
The population of apes in Western Equatorial Africa has declined severely over the last 20 years and, without aggressive intervention, may soon reach the (2003-04-06)

Rutgers anthropologist, Fossey Fund official, announces plan to save Rwanda's mountain gorillas
Rutgers anthropology Professor H. Dieter Steklis, chief scientist and vice president of the Dian Fossey Fund International, has announced the fund's action plan to halt a recent poaching spree that has left six mountain gorillas dead in Rwanda. Immediate preparations are being made to re-establish patrols based at Karisoke, near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, an area where recent poaching incidents have occurred. (2002-11-06)

Want to save gorillas? Enforce laws, experts say
The most immediate threat to western gorillas is not habitat destruction as previously believed, but poaching and lack of law enforcement, said a group of experts from the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society and other organizations. The group, which recently met in Leipzig, Germany to discuss western gorilla issues, concluded that simple enforcement of existing laws to stop poaching is the key to ensuring the immediate survival of these primates. (2002-06-10)

UMass anthropologist investigates dental development and body size in primates
University of Massachusetts anthropologist Laurie R. Godfrey is a member of a team of researchers that finds a number of species of living and recently extinct lemurs living on Madagascar share very accelerated development of their teeth and can chew leaves and other hard-to-process foods soon after birth. (2002-04-30)

Scientists look to Europe as evolutionary seat
University of Toronto anthropologist David Begun and his European colleagues are re-writing the book on the history of great apes and humans, arguing that most of their evolutionary development took place in Eurasia, not Africa. (2002-02-18)

Scientists work to prevent recent Ebola outbreak from decimating gorillas and chimps
The Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is working to prevent the recent Ebola virus outbreak from decimating wild populations of gorillas, chimpanzees and other wildlife in Gabon and neighboring Congo. (2001-12-13)

Homosexual behavior discovered among wild orangutans
A researcher from the Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has observed homosexual behavior among orangutans in Sumatra, marking the first time scientists have witnessed this activity among wild populations of these critically endangered great apes. The researcher, Dr. ElizaBeth Fox, who has studied orangutans since 1994, published her observations in last month's American Journal of Primatology. (2001-12-06)

Mutation rate of male sex chromosome lower than expected
Genetic sequencing and analysis of regions of the X and Y chromosomes of humans, chimpanzees and gorillas, reveals a much smaller difference in mutation rates of the two sex- determining chromosome, say HHMI researchers. The results of the study cast doubt on the idea that sperm production is inherently more prone to error than egg production. (2000-08-09)

Gabon ends logging in key wildlife area
In a unique agreement with logging companies and conservation organizations, the Government of Gabon has agreed to end logging in the 1,900-square-mile Lopé Reserve, home to the highest density of large mammals ever recorded in a rainforest, the Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) announced today. (2000-07-24)

Brookfield Zoo hosts international ape conference
Brookfield Zoo is hosting an international conference May 10- 13, 2000, that will define the obstacles facing apes in this century. The Apes: Challenges for the 21st Century is the first conference to address issues affecting gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees, bonobos, gibbons, and siamangs both in the wild and in zoos. The meeting brings together the world's leading researchers, zoological park personnel, and field biologist. (2000-05-03)

Gorillas in the bits: remote sensing boosts efforts to protect mountain gorillas & rebuild Rwanda's economy
A partnership involving conservation organizations and universities on two continents is bringing new technology to bear on efforts to protect the endangered mountain gorillas popularized by the movie (2000-04-11)

Genes pertaining to 'maleness' evolve more rapidly than their non-sexual counterparts
Researchers at the University of Chicago report in the January 20 issue of Nature that genes pertaining to male reproduction--those involved in sperm production, transfer and morphology--evolve much faster than their non-sexual counterparts. (2000-01-19)

Team discovers new species of hominid
Faculty members from CWRU's School of Medicine are members of a research team which discovered a new species of human ancestor called (1999-06-18)

In Logged Forests, Hunting of Wildlife Becomes Deadly 'Second Harvest'
It's not just trees being removed from the world's rainforests, but staggering numbers of gorillas, elephants and other wildlife, which are being killed and sold as (1999-04-23)

Should Great Apes Be Given Legal Rights?
Are chimps and great apes really so similar to people that they should have specific legal rights? Evidence of cognitive and genetic similarities is fuelling an international campaign to win certain (1999-02-10)

Human Ancestors Went Out Of Africa And Then Came Back: NYU/SUNY-Albany Research Team Proposes Controversial New Model for Evolution of Humans
SUNY-Albany biologist Caro-Beth Stewart and NYU anthropologist Todd R. Disotell have proposed a controversial new model for the evolution of apes and humans, which together are called the hominoids. Stewart and Disotell argue that the ancestor of humans and the living African apes evolved in Eurasia, not Africa. (1998-08-04)

Despite Odds, Little Known Grauer's Gorillas Persist In Central Africa
Not since George Schaller trekked through the remote jungles of Belgian Congo nearly 40 years ago have biologists known how many Grauer's gorillas lived in Central Africa. Now a study recently completed by the Wildlife Conservation Society, published in the journal Oryx, reveals a stable population despite growing human pressures. (1998-04-28)

In Uganda's Impenetrable Forest, A New Census For Mountain Gorillas
A team of scientists has counted nearly 300 mountain gorillas living in Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, bringing the total to around 600 for this most endangered gorilla sub-species. (1997-12-08)

Clear-Cutting In Central Africa
The U.S. must play a key role in saving central Africa's tropical forests, now in sudden peril due to an unprecedented land rush by high-volume logging companies, according to Michael Fay, a conservation biologist with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) headquartered at the Bronx Zoo. (1997-03-21)

Children Become Gorillas In VR Zoo
Visitors to Zoo Atlanta learned what it was like to be part of a gorilla family at a virtual reality demonstration held May 15. Local schoolchildren put on a virtual reality helmet to see how a simulated family of gorillas would react to them. Responsesfrom the simulated gorillas were programmed into the system by Georgia scientists based on real behavior as studied by Zoo Atlanta researchers. (1996-05-23)

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