Intern Education

A few weeks ago I started an ethogram with Patti. An ethogram is a behavioral observation study that catalogs all the different kinds of behavior or activity observed in an animal. There are many different types of ethograms, but the one I am doing with Patti is a focal (or continuous) ethogram. To do this, I record behaviors for a set period of time. I do mine once a day for fifteen minutes and collect data every thirty seconds. I write down her behavior right at thirty seconds, nothing she does before or after gets recorded until the next thirty-second mark. The advantage to this is you can determine the amount of time spent doing specific behaviors.

So far, I have done this for seven days and have gotten over 200 recorded data points. My interest in this comes from me being zoology major at Oregon State University. Having the opportunity to do research on chimpanzees is an amazing experience that I would be crazy to pass up. It can get complicated, but luckily I have plenty of people that can help me if need be.

What I have learned about Patti from observing her is that she is extremely intelligent when it comes to getting what she wants. I have watched her consistently between 4pm and 4:30pm, after the chimps receive dinner. Every night, she begs to the caregivers for more food after she eats dinner. She will beg at them, but never at me. She knows who can give her food and who can’t, which is amazing to me. If I began to feed her like the caregivers do, then she would most likely change this behavior and beg at me.

I still need to do more observation research on Patti to make any sort of conclusion, but for now I’m having fun learning about Patti and all the chimps here at Chimps Inc.

– Aaron, Intern

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