Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Human-Primate Interactions specialism at Brookes showcased by BBC Earth

Thursday, 27 November 2014


Dr Kimberley Hockings’ research on chimpanzees living in human-impacted habitats has been discussed in a fascinating piece published this week on the BBC’s Earth website.

Entitled Learning to Live Togetherthe conservation piece discusses a range of human-animal interactions including insights from Dr Hockings’ research on chimpanzees.

Dr Hockings, a Visiting Research Fellow at Oxford Brookes has undertaken research in Guinea, focusing on such issues as crop-ownership; ’who plants the crop’, where chimpanzees are ‘distributing’ cocoa seeds after eating. The piece also highlights an example of male chimpanzees feeding on papaya and sharing with females as a way of showing off and attracting mates, which she witnessed when studying a group of chimpanzees in the small village of Bossou, Guinea.

Dr Hockings’ work includes examples of chimpanzees adapting to the loss of their habitat, where they are seen to be much more flexible than previously thought. Her observations showed chimps crossing roads to reach food and how they would respond to the danger-level as a group. Adults males would lead and follow, with females and young chimps in the middle.

Much of the people-wildlife research conducted at Oxford Brookes can be found on the Human interactions with and constructions of the environment forum. Professor in Anthropology, Catherine Hill, leads the research group and has published widely around the subjects of social constructions of animals and their relevance to conservation, attitudes towards, and perceptions of wildlife and conservation conflicts.

There is a wealth of research expertise in the Department of Social Sciences as a whole, not only exploring primates and their environments, in modules such as People and Other Animals, Humans and Other Primates and Primate Ecology, but also more widely conservation, habitat and food security issues across a range of undergraduate and post-graduate courses.

Please visit www.brookes.ac.uk/social-sciences/