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Chimpanzees get video conferencing gear in experiment backed by Peter Gabriel

December 7, 2015 | Telepresence Options


Story and images by John Hall / International Business Time

Chimpanzees around the world are to be given access to video-conferencing equipment to see if they use it to communicate with one another. The experiment, which is backed by musician Peter Gabriel, aims to study how apes embrace social technology and will analyse the ways their online communication techniques compare with humans.

The experiment is due to begin next spring, with the initial focus being a troupe of chimpanzees living at Monkey World - a 65-acre rescue centre in Dorset. Once the apes have grown used to the equipment, the experiment will be extended to the African jungle, where chimpanzees released from the same rescue centre will be reunited with their old friends via video links.

The hope is that the apes will recognise each other and communicate via the equipment, which will be embedded in trees or behind clear glass to protect it from chimp-related damage. The whole project will then be turned into two documentary films made in conjunction with west London's private Latymer Upper School, which Gabriel's son Isaac attends.

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