Skip to content

Interview with Dr. Jill Pruetz about chimpanzees in a savanna habitat

I speak with Dr. Pruetz about her fieldwork with chimpanzees at Fongoli, Senegal.

1 min read
Jill Pruetz with dark background and photo of chimpanzee in pool of water
Jill Pruetz

Dr. Jill Pruetz is a primatologist whose fieldwork at Fongoli, Senegal, has provided a window into the lives of chimpanzees. Fongoli is savanna habitat, with a mixture of trees and open grassy areas. It is very different from the forested habitats where some of the most famous studies of chimpanzees have been done in the past.

The Fongoli chimpanzees exhibit some remarkable behaviors. Females often hunt for small primates called galagos, also known as bushbabies. They use sticks to spear them in hollows of trees. The chimpanzees also seek out caves and water to relieve the heat. The observations by Pruetz and her team are providing valuable context that may help us understand the adaptability of chimpanzees.

And of course, from the perspective of human evolution, chimpanzee behaviors may give us clues about how our early hominin ancestors used similar habitats.

I spoke with Dr. Pruetz at the meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropology in 2013.

Human Evolution: Past and FuturechimpanzeesVideo by John Hawks
John Hawks

John Hawks Twitter

I'm a paleoanthropologist exploring the world of ancient humans and our fossil relatives.

Related Posts

Members Public

Can ancient amputations tell us about the care systems of our ancestors?

A 33,000-year-old case of an amputated leg prompts comparisons to earlier Neandertal instances of amputation.

Skull of the Shanidar 1 individual with portions of the upper body skeleton visible, on a blue velvet table
Members Public

Panel: Who or what is Homo naledi?

Lee Berger, Agustin Fuentes, and I had a provocative conversation sharing our different perspectives on work related to the Rising Star cave system.

John Hawks with bookshelves in the background
Members Public

Lecture: Are we the last Neanderthals?

At this event, I shared new insights about the humanity of our extinct human relatives.

John Hawks giving a lecture