By Shirley Strum
In 1972, a tender graduate pupil named Shirley Strum traveled to Kenya to check a troop of olive baboons (Papio anubis) nicknamed the Pumphouse Gang. Like our personal ancestors, baboons had tailored to lifestyles at the African savannah, and Strum was hoping that by way of watching baboon habit, she may perhaps research whatever approximately how early people may have lived. quickly the baboons had gained her middle in addition to her brain, and Strum has been operating with them ever since.
Vividly written and jam-packed with attention-grabbing insights, virtually Human chronicles the 1st fifteen years of Strum's fieldwork with the Pumphouse Gang. From the 1st paragraph, the reader is drawn besides Strum into the realm of the baboons, studying concerning the tragedies and triumphs in their day-by-day lives—and the lives of the scientists learning them.
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Extra resources for Almost Human: A Journey into the World of Baboons
I have also drawn from data ﬁles compiled by our ﬁeld assistants, such as our meteorological data ﬁles or ﬁles that contain data on the species of trees that provide chimpanzees with food, or the distribution of those trees in the forest. I have also used maps and photographs, and last but not least the copious notes in my own ﬁeld notebooks. Range and density of the Sonso community The BFP camp, located in a large clearing in the heart of the Budongo Forest made originally by Budongo Sawmills Ltd, is in the middle of the range of the Sonso chimpanzee community.
However, our ﬁeld assistant Zephyr Kiwede did observe a complete birth which, even more unusually, took place high in a tree. The events are described in full in Kiwede (2000) from which these extracts are taken: At 07:30 on 30 December 1998, chimpanzees of the Sonso community were heard calling. Many chimpanzees were found feeding on ripe ﬁgs (Ficus mucuso). A nulliparous female named Kewaya (KY) was sitting on a branch of the tree at a height of 30 metres above the ground just below the crown.
Despite this we obtained a lot of information and were able to piece together the ﬁssion–fusion system of chimpanzees that had never before been described, as well as their dietary preferences, their social and sexual behaviour. When I returned to Budongo in 1990 the ﬁrst priority was habituation. It took ﬁve years of daily following and observing them by our ﬁeld assistants and researchers before we knew the number of chimpanzees in the Sonso community; or, to put it another way, before the shyest individuals allowed us to observe them (Reynolds 1997/8).