This bear was filmed, gnawing on a bone from a takin, a species of wild cattle.
For a species which is thought to survive exclusively on bamboo, this would be strange behaviour.
However, pandas do not survive exclusively on bamboo as roughly 1% of their diet comes from other foods. In fact, their digestive system is typical of a carnivore, so the remaining 1% of their diet can include eggs, small animals and carrion – like this bone. Pandas are also known to forage in farmland for pumpkin, kidney beans, wheat and domestic pig food.
The thing is, pandas eat up to 38kg a day, which means that during the week, they eat around 3kg of food that is not bamboo. This is significant, and while much of this may well be other vegetation, if the time spent on other food sources was around 1% of the time, it would suggest at least 1 hour a week spent eating other things.
One must remember that their intelligence is on a par with Chimpanzee and gorilla -like other bears, so they are capable of working things out.
Recent studies have shown that it his highly beneficial to both species when these cross species friendships are made. Indeed, it is not merely a question of chance encounters, instead each species will actively search out the other.
Benefits include protection from predators, increased social skills and finding fruiting trees.
It is unfortunately true, that in many of the reserves that have been formed, we do not know what lives within the park. In many places there has been so much poaching that animals keep well clear of any human visitors.
It is also true, that in parks with little or no tourism infrastructure, it is incredibly difficult to find animals. Never-the-less, while this makes it clear that when setting up national parks you need to give them some resources if you wish them to be a success tourism-wise, they can still have impressive conservation successes.
In this instance, clearly chimpanzee are still surviving and even breeding.
Just 2500 years ago, the never-ending forests of west Africa was made up of fragments of forest, with areas of open land between them. This fragmentation was down to a change in the environment occurring which meant that the dry season started to loosing far longer.
It seems that this changed because of seed disposal animals – including chimpanzees, which helped by leaving heavy seeds behind with a healthy dollop of fertilizer, allowing these slow growing trees to have a good start in life. Unfortunately, now as we are destroying the rainforest, there are also human hunters that are killing these seed dispersers in great numbers, making sure that the forests cannot regenerate.
Are we making sure that forests cannot recover? Not only are we destroying them, but also removing the natural gardeners that helped it return last time it was threatened. My fear is that it may become necessary for humans to replant vast areas by hand. Should it become necessary and recognized, then I am sure we would rise to the occasion, but far better to recognise it before it is too late.
In many ways humans are incredibly similar to the other great apes – Chimpanzees, Bonobos, gorillas and orangutans.
Stem cell researchers released a paper in late 2021 (In cell stem cell) that might explain. A previously overlooked section of the DNA – non-coded DNA may explain why our brain and that of other great apes works so differently.
Their study suggests that chimpanzees and humans use a part of the DNA stream in different ways, and this has a considerable effect on the way our brains form.
Perhaps unfortunately (or fortunately) this suggests that the data held outside of the protein-coding genes (which has up to now been labelled junk DNA) has greater importance. This of course means that there is still a great deal to de-code (never mind understand).
Roughly 2% of our genes are thought to be genetic, the other 98% (overlooked till now) is likely to have many hidden secrets that might give us a better idea if what it is to be human (at least from a genetical point of view.
Leprosy has been identified by an international team of scientists in two countries in west africa – Ivory coast and Guinea-Bissau.
Leprosy has never been documented in wild Chimpanzees and the strain in each country was different (suggesting that the two causes are different.
Seemingly, one of the hardest things about studying leprosy is that it will not grow in lab conditions. It must either be harvested from animals or on occasion the feet of mice. As a result most studies are done on people with the disease. The Ivory coast strain has a history in Ethiopia and medieval Europe so there is some research still to be done. It has not yet been identified if it was transmitted from local villages or if it was brought to this part of Africa by tourists.
I hope all the people reading this are aware of the intelligence of chimpanzees. Indeed, this intelligence has been known for some time. Altruistic acts have been recorded in studies – going back to Jane Goodall’s seminal first study in Gombe stream.
This time, scientists have observed chimpanzees in Gabon applying insects to each others wounds – in the same way that we would use medicine. Now while medicinal uses have been seen before this is the first use of this sort that has been seen.
Back in 1965 Jane Goodall started to see in her studies, the use of various plants as medicines. In this instance, there was a specific leaf that they would eat when not feeling well – importantly, the leaf was not chewed as is normal. when researchers did tests on the leaf, they found it contained a specific chemical which was capable of killing a range of bacteria, fungi, and nematodes
In the coastal National park of Loango – Gabon, over the course of a study of a group of chimpanzees, 19 times chimpanzees were seen catching a spefic insect out of the air, chewing it, and then inserting it into injuries on wounded fellow members of the group.
A number of insects seem to have a positive impacts when applied to skin, and it is thought that these insects have an anti inflammatory effect, allowing the injury to heal faster.
The injuries are almost always as a result of fights between different groups of chimpanzees.
Many species can have albinism. That is: a lower amount of pigmentation or indeed a complete lack of pigmentation. From white lions and white deer, or indeed even white grizzly bears – possibly the initial way that Polar bears evolved, albinism is not rare. Humans are also capable of having this condition – evidence is clear that humans originated in Africa, suggesting that all white humans are descended from people who had this condition.
Indeed, I have seen an albino child in an African village – very white, despite having 2 black parents.
Never-the-less, albino chimpanzees are rare. Now it should be noted that this group that the chimpanzee was seen in has a well documented propensity for infanticide – so it is unclear if this would be the natural reaction to an albino chimpanzee birth.