The “Prehistory” Before 1976: Looking Back on Three Decades of Research on Bossou Chimpanzees

  • Gen Yamakoshi
Part of the Primatology Monographs book series


A long-term research project on Bossou chimpanzees, which begun in 1976, has now been in progress for more than 30 years. Before 1976, the unique relationship between residents of Bossou village and chimpanzees motivated some researchers to visit the village to collect valuable data. These older data sets are quite useful for evaluating those data obtained after 1976 and for developing solutions to current conservation problems. The earliest scientific descriptions of Bossou chimpanzees date back to 1942, and since then several scientific expeditions have visited the village for various purposes. Among these, two ethological expeditions led by researchers from the University of Amsterdam in 1967 and 1969 yielded particularly detailed information about the chimpanzees’ behavior, demography, and conservation status. The described degree of habituation to human presence appears to confirm local tales of peaceful coexistence. Behavioral descriptions from the past suggest continuity with today’s observations rather than differences. Future analysis of 16-mm films shot during the 1969 expedition will aid in the detailed reconstruction of each chimpanzee’s life history over time.


Wild Chimpanzee Antipredatory Response Peaceful Coexistence Scientific Expedition Chimpanzee Community 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was financially supported by KAKENHI [Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (B)] to the author (15710182), KAKENHI [Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (A)] to the author (18681036), JSPS-HOPE to T. Matsuzawa, KAKENHI [Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (A)] to S. Kobayashi (16252004), KAKENHI [Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (A)] to M. Ichikawa (17251002), Research Grant from Mitsui & Co., Ltd. Environment Fund (Soil and forests: 2007–) to S. Kobayashi, and JSPS-GCOE (E04: In Search of Sustainable Humanosphere in Asia and Africa). I thank la Direction Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique et Technologique of Republic of Guinea and l’Institut de Recherche Environnementale de Bossou, Republic of Guinea for their permissions for my research. I am grateful to Drs. Y. Sugiyama, T. Matsuzawa, all the colleagues of Bossou chimpanzee research projects, and the people in the Embassy of Japan in Guinea for their cooperation during my fieldwork. I also thank A.F. Molenkamp and people in Naturalis, Leiden, people in Grafimedia, Leiden University, K. Koops, and especially the late Dr. A. Kortlandt for their extraordinary open-mindedness and cooperation for digitizing old film materials.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Asian and African Area StudiesKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan

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