Lesser Apes? What can female chimpanzees tell us about human evolution? Mellissa Emery Thompson, Associate
Professor & Co-Director, Comparative Human and Primate Physiology Center, University of New Mexico.
The great apes are powerful references for examining the evolutionary origins of human behavior. Comparisons with our closest living relatives, chimpanzees, have often focused on the behavior of males who engage in ostentatious displays, frequent aggression, and sophisticated cooperative behavior. The social lives of female chimpanzees are decidedly subtler and deviate in important ways from other primates. Drawing extensively on the work by UNM faculty and students affiliated with the Kibale Chimpanzee Project, I explore the behavior of female chimpanzee across the lifespan, addressing how parallels and contrasts with humans can inform our understanding of the evolution of human behavior.