Chimpanzees of Gombe
|Animal Rights, Observation, 🐰 Animal Welfare
Table of Contents
The story is about a chimpanzee referred to as ‘Feefee’ a 25 year old mother living in the forest with her family in a community of chimpanzees that display social characteristics such as family units and power dominance that is similar to human societies around the world (Goodall, 2013). In the chimpanzee community, the family is considered to be the basic social unit through which family members including siblings and parents attain emotional and social support. In the story feefee’s family enjoy some time playing, tickling and brushing each other during the day and also the family members express their emotional status such as agitation, sober, happiness and fun associated with factors within the family or in the environment. Outside the family, the chimpanzees are organized into communities whereby Feefee recognizes the hierarchy of authority by the Alfa male chimpanzees (Goodall, 2013). In the community of chimpanzees friendship bonds are established and chimpanzees spend time together grooming as a means of stretching the social bonds amongst themselves. Despite the social gatherings being characterized by grooming conflicts also occurred in the community especially among the chimpanzees and other animals in their territory that often led to violent clashes characterized by extreme aggression and violence. In their community chimpanzees communicate using facial expressions, gestures, signs as well as using their incredible vocal sound. Also in the chimpanzee community, the roles were defined mainly based on gender that is the males were responsible mainly for protection of the community while females offered care to the infants either within their families or in solitary (Goodall, 2013). This is because in the chimpanzee community is promiscuous and it is hard to establish the father of the infants and therefore child care responsibility is left to the mother.
In undertaking a critical analysis of the intimate life of chimpanzee community living in the forest through the story of ‘feefee’ the contemporary human societies and cultural practices that is being undertaken in various communities is reflected (Goodall, 1986). The biological and psychological characteristics regarding the chimpanzees that are also seen in the human society include the uniqueness of an individual that is characterized by the personality of the person (Topinard, 2013). In undertaking an analysis of the chimpanzee community, the family is the units of the society similar to human beings and also the family provides social and emotional support to the members to ensure their wellbeing in the community. In the human society, the family is considered to be the basic unit that provides social, emotional and psychological support to individuals (Topinard, 2013). Through further analysis of the chimpanzees, the study established that a chimpanzee has got a particular personality that is based on the emotional reaction influenced by others or factors in the environment characteristics that is similar to human being. Also through analyzing the community of the chimpanzee, another characteristic that is similar to the human societies in the present day is the use of language in communication of ideas and emotions. The chimpanzee family uses vocal sound that is incredible and consistent in the communication process as well as incorporating gestures and facial expression in communication of information to other chimpanzees in the family or the community.
Further analysis of the chimpanzee community of Gombe indicates the use of tools such as sticks for picking ants and stones for crushing purposes in everyday life of the chimpanzees. In the evolution of human beings, the use of tools was seen as a result of the cognitive development of the ancient human beings that was caused by the interaction with the environment (Topinard, 2013). Other significant anthropological characteristics that can be clearly identified from the observation of the chimpanzee community include the definition of roles and hierarchy of authority. In the society, the definition of roles is undertaken based on factors such as biological or societal characteristics that influence the outcome of the roles (Topinard, 2013). In the chimpanzee family, the division of roles such as child care responsibilities for females and securing the community for the males is influence by the biological differences between the females and the males. Through observation, the male chimpanzee are larger and more muscular that the female and thus are better adopted to the role of securing the community while on the other hand the female have mammary glands for the infants to suckle for the nutritious milk.
The understanding of the human societies and culture is achieved through the observation of the chimpanzees. The societal aspects demonstrated include the use of language for communication, respecting the hierarchy of authority, learning or traits from one generation to the next and definition of roles and expectation in the society (Goodall, 2013). The cultural aspects that can be understood through the observation and analysis of the chimpanzee community include the role of the family in the development of individuals in the society as well as the use of tools in everyday tasks such as crushing or picking food. Therefore based on the observation of the various societal and cultural practices amongst the chimpanzee, an understanding of the various dynamism of the human society can be understood. For example the use of tools among human evolved from primitive tools that are simple to make just in a similar manner to that of chimpanzees but rather through technological advances, the tools used by human became sophisticated to meet the needs better. Also the observation of the chimpanzee community is important in the understanding of the various human factors in the environment that results in the development of a way of life of a people due to associations.
In understanding a community, observational methods are effective in gathering the crucial information regarding the day to day interactions that form culture. The interactions and associations within a society that are guided by the emotional and social factors that determine the personality of individuals also contributes to culture. Lastly, the evolution occurs through the adoption of new ways that are influenced by environmental factors that causes the need to change resulting in changes in the social and psychological factors in the environment that results in societal transformation.
- Goodall, J. (2013). The Chimps of Gombe. Tanzania.
- Goodall, J. (1986).The Chimpanzees of Gombe: Patterns of Behavior. Cambridge, MA, Belknap Press.
- Topinard, P. (2013). Anthropology. Miami, Fla.: HardPress Pub.