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Getting closer: contributions of zoo studies to research on the physiology and development of Bonobos Pan paniscus, Chimpanzees Pan troglodytes and other primates
Journal Contribution - Journal Article
Behavioural studies on animals incorporate data on morphology, physiology and energetic status, as well as kinship and genetic information. Such measures have become the state of the art when assessing the function of a given behaviour. Zoos provide opportunities for research of a kind that is difficult to undertake in the wild. In this article several advantages of studying captive animals are highlighted; for example, accessibility, ease of sample collection, control of environmental factors, long-term monitoring and known life histories, which can be tracked throughout the life of an individual. The data collected from such studies can be used to provide benchmarks for physiological and life-history features. To demonstrate the type of studies to which zoos can contribute, examples are given from work with Bonobos Pan paniscus and Chimpanzees Pan troglodytes. Such studies improve our basic understanding of physiological processes in these apes, which could be applied to other non-human primates. Data from zoo-living animals promote validation and refinement of methods, add information that may be difficult to obtain from wild specimens and provide the means by which to scrutinize specific questions in experimental settings. Such data can serve as a benchmark for studies on wild conspecifics and inspire field studies by providing novel tools for data collection.
Journal: International Zoo Yearbook
Number of pages: 14
Keywords:bonobo, chimpanzee, endocrinology, science, validation studies, zoos