Deaprtment of Bonobo Research
(funded by Hayashibara group)
There are 334 chimpanzees in Japan (April 2010). However, there are no
bonobos at all. KUPRI in the collaboration with GARI (Hayashibara Great
Ape Research Institute, directed by Dr. Gen Idani) decided to start the
joint endeavor of studying bonobos both in the wild and in the laboratory.
The new department, named "Department of Bonobo Research (funded by
Hayashibara group)" starts in April 1st 2010. It has a plan to
introduce 5 bonobos to Japan in the collaboration with AZA species
survival project in near future.
The new department consists of the following three faculty members:
Testuro Matsuzawa (professor, double appointment), Satoshi Hirata
(Visiting associate professor), and Shinya Yamamoto (assistant professor).
KUPRI has the long tradition of the bonobo research. The former
professor Takayoshi Kano is the first person who started the field study
of wild bonobos in Wamba, ex-Zaire. He did his first extensive survey in
1973, and he settled in Wamba in 1974. His achievement is known as his
book titled "The last ape". The tradition is succeeded by the
faculty members of Department of Ecology and Social Behavior such as
Profs. Takeshi Furuichi and Chie Hashimoto. The new department aims to
enforce the existing tradition and also provides the complementary
approach to study their cognitive functions in the laboratory. By
synthesizing the fieldwork and the laboratory work we may know more about
bonobos and also about the evolutionary origins of human nature.