Apes in the Anthropocene: flexibility and survival

Kimberley J. Hockings, Matthew R. McLennan, Susana Carvalho, Marc Ancrenaz, René Bobe, Richard W. Byrne, Robin I.M. Dunbar, Tetsuro Matsuzawa, William C. McGrew, Elizabeth A. Williamson, Michael L. Wilson, Bernard Wood, Richard W. Wrangham, Catherine M. Hill
DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2015.02.002


We are in a new epoch, the Anthropocene, and research into our closest living relatives, the great apes, must keep pace with the rate that our species is driving change. While a goal of many studies is to understand how great apes behave in natural contexts, the impact of human activities must increasingly be taken into account. This is both a challenge and an opportunity, which can importantly inform research in three diverse fields: cognition, human evolution, and conservation. No long-term great ape research site is wholly unaffected by human influence, but research at those that are especially affected by human activity is particularly important for ensuring that our great ape kin survive the Anthropocene.


great apes, anthropogenic disturbance, behavioural flexibility, ape cognition, hominin coexistence, human–wildlife interaction

Article Information
Hockings KJ. , McLennan MR. , Carvalho S, Ancrenaz M, Bobe R, Byrne RW. , Dunbar RI.M. , Matsuzawa T, McGrew WC. , Williamson EA. , Wilson ML. , Wood B, Wrangham RW. , Hill CM. (2015)Apes in the Anthropocene: flexibility and survival Trends in Ecology & Evolution, Volume 30, Issue 4, p215-222. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2015.02.002
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