"Why Chimps and Gorillas Form Rainforest Friendships"

"In a Congolese national park, great apes of different species interact socially, with individuals clearly recognizing one another."

"In the misty forests of the Congolese rainforest, a small band of apes fed in a tree. Adult chimpanzees dined on fruit in the canopy, while a pair of young apes played nearby. But one of the playing apes was not a chimpanzee: It was a gorilla.

“Most of what we’d been told about the interactions between these two species is that they’d be competitive or they would avoid each other,” said Crickette Sanz, an anthropologist at Washington University in St. Louis who witnessed such a scene for the first time in 2000. But over two decades of observations at Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park in the Republic of Congo, she and her colleagues recorded yearslong relationships and other forms of social interactions between individual chimpanzees and gorillas. Their research was published last month in iScience.

While the populations of chimpanzees in East and West Africa have been well studied over the past several decades, the bands present in Congo are less well known, Dr. Sanz said. Their range overlaps with the region containing a majority of remaining gorillas, particularly within the remote Goualougo Triangle."

Asher Elbein reports for the New York Times October 11, 2022.

Source: NYTimes, 10/14/2022