Report for HOPE-GM,
Primate Origins of Human Evolution: From Genes to Mind
Dr. William C. McGrew, Professor of Evolutionary
Primatology, Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies,
Dept. of Biological Anthropology, University of Cambridge, UK; and
Professor Linda F. Marchant, Dept. of Anthropology, Miami
DATE: 4 September 2010
Frans de Waal, Linda Marchant and Bill McGrew at Jigokudani, 25
March 2010. Photograph by Yoku Hattori.
We spent the period of 18 March to 11 April 2010 in
Japan, as part of a delegation of 6 scholars from the University
of Cambridge. (During this period, Prof. Marchant was on
sabbatical leave from Miami, temporarily based in Cambridge.) We
joined 2 other senior researchers and 2 other junior researchers
from outside Japan as part of the HOPE-GM project, with special
reference to the International Training Opportunities for Young
Researchers. We were pleased to make use of the newly-opened
facilities of the Centre for International Collaboration of
Advanced Studies in Primatology (CICASP). We sought to engage with
our Japanese counterparts, as well as one another, to share
perspectives and knowledge of primatology. This exchange was based
on a wide range of experiences gained from behavioural, cognitive
and ecological study of non-human primates, especially great apes,
in both natural and captive settings.
During our period in Japan, we took part in a variety of
activities that included giving research talks, visiting famous
primatological sites, and consulting with various primatologists,
mostly from the Primate Research Institute, but also from the
neighbouring Japan Monkey Centre. These activities are outlined in
the timeline given below:
18-19 March: Fly from London to Nagoya, via Seoul. Train to
22-23 March: HOPE-GM conference on 'Primate Mind and Behavior'.
Gave invited lecture on 'Fifty Years of Wild Chimpanzee Tool Use:
Where Do We Stand?' Kyoto University Clock Tower Centennial Hall.
24-26 March: We joined Prof. Frans de Waal and Dr. Yuko Hattori
for a visit to Shiga Heights, to see the wild Japanese macaques
('snow monkeys') of Jigokudani. This was wonderfully successful,
as we were able to make observations and take photographs of the
monkeys in the hot springs during a period of falling snow. It was
29 March-2 April: A group of both senior and junior foreign
scholars, assisted by Mr. Yoshiaki Sato and Fumiharo Kano, visited
the island field sites of Koshima and Yakushima. At Koshima, we
were fortunate to see the monkey doing their famous
sweet-potato-washing and grain-sluicing in the water at the beach.
At Yakushima, we saw the completely wild (never provisioned)
monkeys in the forest of the national park, sometimes accompanied
by wild deer. At Yakushima, as well as seeing the magnificent
ancient cedar trees, we stayed in an excellent seaside ryokan,
with delicious traditional Japanese cuisine.
3 April: We participated in a one-day conference on the theme
of the intersection of comparative cognitive scienceand field
science, in Nagoya. I gave a lecture entitled 'Spontaneous
Ingestion of Alcohol by Non-human Primates: Seven Hypotheses and
Some Preliminary Findings', co-authored with Kimberley Hockings
and Tetsuro Matsuzawa.
9 April: We toured the Japan Monkey Centre, with its director,
Prof. Toshisada Nishida, and a colleague, Mr. Gaku Ohashi.
Other events: We were lucky to experience a number of
scientifically and culturally enriching activities during other
days, including: Demonstration of research on complex cognitive
functioning by Ai and her companions, guided by Dr. Masaki
Tomonaga; an evening of traditional Japanese music and dance,
followed by a sumptuous meal, in Gion, Kyoto, hosted by Prof.
Matsuzawa and Dr. Gen Idani; walking tours of Inuyama, to see
castle, temples and shrines, during the cherry blossom festival.
During the few days that we were not busy, as above, WCM worked
to complete the manuscript of a forthcoming book, Chimpanzee
Behavior in the Wild: An Audio-Visual Encyclopedia (Tokyo,
Springer, 2010). This is co-authored with Prof. Nishida and three
other Japanese primatologists.
We are exceedingly grateful for all the generosity and
hospitality that we experienced during our visit to Japan. We
thank all of our Japanese colleagues (too many to be named
individually) for making it a visit to remember for the rest of
W.C. McGrew & L.F. Marchant