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Mans' closest relationship under strain? New research reveals why chimpanzees attack humans
Date:8/11/2010

of human cultivation.

The team concluded that the conservation of primate habitat is crucial to preventing resource based attacks on humans by primates. They also considered measures which could be taken by the villagers, including the removal of specific fruit trees which may attract the chimpanzees, or keeping any transported food out of sight.

"In general people should keep calm, try not to scream and avoid running off or scattering, especially within groups," said Dr Kimberley Hockings from the New University of Lisbon in Portugal, a co-guest editor of the special issue. "In the village we recommended that children should not be left alone near forest boundaries."

This research is published as part of a special issue on ethnoprimatology, a discipline which seeks to understand the relationship between humans and primates from ecological, social and cultural perspectives.

"The relationship between humans and nonhuman primates worldwide is complex. Wild animals attack hundreds of people globally every year and while most nonhuman primates are fearful of humans certain species such as chimpanzees and baboons have a higher tendency to attack," said Dr Hockings. "Humans have long exploited nonhuman primates, our closest living relatives, for food, traditional medicine and even as pets. Yet in some societies nonhuman primates are revered as godlike creatures. In Bossou the villagers considered the chimpanzees a sacred totem animal."

The research on nonhuman primate attacks is an example of how human ecology and behaviour can influence, and be influenced by, the ecology and behaviour of primates. For villages bordering primate territory crop raiding and fear of attack by primates can affect the livelihoods of humans.

On the other hand human alteration of the landscape for farming, hunting, religious beliefs, and even pet keeping can affect the behaviour and ecology of primates.

"We believe that human
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Contact: Ben Norman
Lifesciencenews@wiley.com
44-012-437-70375
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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