Ngogo Chimpanzee Project

Along with bonobos, chimpanzees are humans' closest living relatives. By studying chimpanzees, we can learn which characteristics of human behavior were likley also present in the last common ancestor we shared with chimpanzees, and which have uniquely evolved in the human lineage. The Ngogo Chimpanzee Project is a long-term field project devoted to the scientific study and conservation of the Ngogo community of chimpanzees living in Kibale National Park, Uganda. Ngogo is the largest known chimpanzee community, and much research at Ngogo has focused on explaining the ecological reasons for this unusual demographic situation and its influence on chimpanzee behavior.

Project Contact
Kevin Langergraber
Associate Professor

Project Details

The Ngogo Chimpanzee Project, co-directed by Kevin Langergraber, is a long-term field project devoted to the scientific study and conservation of the Ngogo community of chimpanzees living in Kibale National Park, Uganda.

With nearly 200 individuals, Ngogo is the largest known chimpanzee community. Much research at Ngogo has focused on explaining the ecological reasons for this unusual demographic situation and its influence on chimpanzee behavior. Past and ongoing topics of study include intra- and inter-sexual social relationships and cooperation, kinship and social relationships, mating behavior and reproductive success, hunting and meat sharing, territorial behavior, and feeding ecology.

In addition to following the chimpanzees and recording their behavior, researchers at Ngogo also non-invasively collect urine, feces and other biological materials for endocrinological and genetic analyses, as well as conduct phenological and botanical studies of the forest ecology. The Ngogo Chimpanzee Project also employs a team of local Ugandans who work alongside local law enforcement officers (Uganda Wildlife Authority) to collect snares and curtail illegal hunting within the park. They also collect fecal samples for an ongoing genetics-based chimpanzee monitoring program that aims to determine the size, composition, number and location of unhabituated chimpanzee communities within the 800 km2 of Kibale National Park.

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Research Team

Funding

Nacey Maggioncalda Foundation

Biodiversity Consultants, Ltd.

North Carolina Zoological Society

National Institutes of Health

Outcomes

36. White, L.C., Fontserè, C., Lizano, E., Hughes, D.A., Angedakin, S., Arandjelovic, M., Granjon, A-C., Hans, J.B., Lester, J.D., Rabanus-Wallace, M.T., Rowney, C., Städele, V., Marques-Bonet, T., Langergraber, K.E., Vigilant, L. (in press). A roadmap for high-throughput sequencing studies of wild animal populations using non-invasive samples and hybridization capture. Molecular Ecology Resources.

35. Negrey, J.N., Reddy, R., Scully, E., Phillips-Garcia, S., Owens, L., Langergraber, K., Mitani, J., Emery Thomson, M., Wrangham, R., Muller, M., Otali, E., Machanda, Z., Hyeroba, D., Grindle, K., Pappas, T., Palmenberg, A., Gern, J., & Goldberg, T.L. (in press). Simultaneous outbreaks of respiratory disease in wild chimpanzees caused by distinct viruses of human origin. Emerging Microbes and Infections.

34. McCarthy, M.S., Lester, J., Langergraber, K.E., Stanford, C., & Vigilant, L. (2018). Genetic analysis suggests dispersal among chimpanzees in a fragmented forest landscape in Uganda. American Journal of Primatology, 80, e22092.

33. van Casteren, A., Oelze, V.M., Angedakin, S., Kalan, A.K., Kambi, M., Boesch, C., Kuehl, H.S., Langergraber, K.E., Piel, A.K., Stewart, F.A., & Kupczik, K. (2018) Food mechanical properties and isotopic signatures in forest versus savannah dwelling eastern chimpanzees. Communications Biology, 1, 109.

32. Tagg, N., McCarthy, M., Dieguez, P., Bocksberger, G., Willie, J., Mundry, R., Stewart, F., Arandjelovic, M., Widness, J., Landsmann, A., Agbor, A., Angedakin, S., Ayimisin, A.E., Bessone, M., Brazzola, G., Corogenes, K., Deschner, T., Dilambaka, E., Eno-Nku, M., Eshuis, H., Goedmakers, A., Granjon, A-C., Head, J., Hermans, V., Jones, S., Kadam, P., Kambi, M., Langergraber, K.E., Lapeyre, V., Lapuente, J., Lee, K., Leinert, V., Maretti, G., Marrocoli, S., Meier, A., Nicholl, S., Normand, E., Ormsby, L.J., Piel, A., Robinson, O., Sommer, V., ter Heegde, M., Tickle, A., Tone, E., van Schijndel, J., Vanleeuwe, H., Vergnes, V., Wessling, E., Wittig, R.M., Zuberbuehler, K., Kuehl, H. & Boesch, C. (2018). Nocturnal activity in wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes): Evidence for flexible sleeping patterns and insights into human evolution. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 166, 510-529.

31. Hernandez-Rodriguez, J., Arandjelovic, M., Lester, J., de Filippo, C., Weihmann, A., Meyer, M., Angedakin, S., Casals, F., Navarro, A., Vigilant, L., Kuhl, H.S., Langergraber, K.E., Boesch, C., Hughes, D., & Marques-Bonet, T. (2018). The impact of endogenous content, replicates and pooling on genome capture from fecal samples. Molecular Ecology Resources, 1-15. 

30. Hoffmann, C., Zimmermann, F., Biek, R., Kuehl, H., Nowak, K., Mundry, R., Agbor, A., Angedakin, S., Arandjelovic, M., Blankenburg, A., Brazolla, G., Corogenes, K., Couacy-Hymann, E., Deschner, T., Dieguez, P., Dierks, K., Düx, A., Dupke, S., Eshuis, H., Formenty, P., Goedmakers, A., Granjon, A-C., Grunow, R., Hart, J., Jones, S., Junker, J., Kyang, J., Langergraber, K.E., Lapuente, J., Lee, K., Leendertz, S.A., Leinert, V., Löhrich, T., Marrocoli, S., Mätz-Rensing, K., Meier, A., Merkel, K., Metzger, S., Moebius, Y., Murai, M., De Nys, H., Sachse, A., Schenk, S., van Schijndel, J., Thiesen, U., Ton, E., Yuh, Y.G., Boesch, C., Klee, S.R., Wittig, R.M., Calvignac-Spencer, S., Leendertz, F.H. (2017). Persistent anthrax as a major driver of wildlife mortality in a tropical rainforest. Nature, 548, 82-86.

29. Surbeck, M.*, Langergraber, K.E.*, Fruth, B., Vigilant, L., and Hohmann, G. (2017). Male reproductive skew is higher in bonobos than chimpanzees. Current Biology, 27, R640-R641.

28. Langergraber, K.E., Watts, D.P., Vigilant, L., and Mitani, J.C. (2017). Group augmentation, collective action, and territorial boundary patrols by male chimpanzees. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, 114, 7337-7342. Cover article.

27. Surbeck, M., Girard-Buttoz, C., Boesch, C., Crockford, C., Fruth, B., Hohmann, G., Langergraber, K.E., Zuberbuhler, K., Wittig, R., and Mundry, R. (2017). Sex-specific association patterns in bonobos and chimpanzees reflect species differences in cooperation. Royal Society Open Science, 4, 161081.

26. Wood, B.M., Watts, D.P., Mitani, J.C., and Langergraber, K.E. (2017). Favorable ecological circumstances promote life expectancy in chimpanzees similar to that of human hunter-gatherers. Journal of Human Evolution, 105, 41-56.

25. Granjon, A.C., Rowney, C., Vigilant, L., and Langergraber, K.E. (2017). Evaluating genetic capture-mark-recapture using a chimpanzee population of known size. Journal of Wildlife Management, 81, 279-288. Cover article. 

24. Wittig, R.M., Crockford, C., Weltring, A., Langergraber, K.E., Deschner, T., and Zuberbühler, K. (2016). Social support reduces stress hormone levels in wild chimpanzees across stressful events and everyday affiliations. Nature Communications, 7, 13361.

23. de Manuel, M., Kuhlwilm, M., Frandsen, P., Sousa, V., Desai, T., Prado-Martinez, J., Hernandez-Rodriguez, J., Duperret, I., Lao, O., Hallast, P., Schmidt, J., Heredia, T., Benazzo, A., Barbujani, G., Peter, B., Kuderna, L.F., Casals, F., Angedakin, S., Langergraber, K.E., Arandjelovic, M., Kuehl, H., Vigilant, L., Boesch, C., Novembre, J., Gut, M., Gut, I., Navarro, A., Andres, A., Siegismund, H.R., Excoffier, L., Scally, A., Xue, Y., Castellano, S., Tyler-Smith, C., Hvilsom, C., and Marques-Bonet, T. (2016). Chimpanzee genomic diversity reveals ancient admixture with bonobos in the wild. Science, 354, 477-481.

22. Madinda, N.F., Ehlers, B., Wertheim, J.O., Akoua-Koffi, C., Bergl, R.A., Boesch, C., Boji Mungu Akonkwa, D., Eckardt, W., Fruth, B., Gillespie, T.R., Gray, M., Hohmann, G., Karhemere, S., Kujirakwinja, D., Langergraber, K.E., Muyembe, J.J., Nishuli, R., Pauly, M., Petrzelkova, K.J., Robbins, M.M., Todd, A., Schubert, G., Stoinski, T.S., Wittig, R.M., Zuberbühler, K., Peeters, M., Leendertz, F.H., and Calvignac-Spencer, S. (2016). Assessing host-virus codivergence for close relatives of Merkel cell polyomavirus infecting African great apes. Journal of Virology, 90, 8351-8541.

21. Kühl, H.S., Kalan, A.K., Arandjelovic, M., Aubert, F., Goedmakers, A., Jones, S., Regnaut, S., Tickle, A., van Schijndel, J., Angedakin, S., Agbor, A., Ayuk Ayimisin, E. , Bailey, E., Bessone, M., Bonnet, M., Brazolla, G., Ebua Buh, V., Chancellor, R., Cipoletta, C., Cohen, H., Corogenes, K., Coupland, C., Desarmeaux, T., Deschner, T., Dierks, K., Dieguez, P., Dilambaka, E., Diotoh, O., Dowd, D., Dunn, A., Eshius, H., Fernandez, R., Ginath, Y., Hart, J., Ter Heegde, M., Hicks, T.C, Imong, I., Jeffery, K., Junker, J., Kambi, M., Kehoe, L., Kienast, I., Kujirakwinja, D., Langergraber, K.E., Lapeyre, V., Lapuente, J., Lee, K., Leinert, V., Meier, A., Maretti, G., Marrocoli, S., Mbe, T.J., Morgan, D., Morgan, B., Mulindahabi, F., Murai, M., Normand, E., Ormsby, L.J., Piel, A., Pruetz, J., Sanz, C., Sommer, V., Stewart, F., Tagg, N., VanLeeuwe, H., Vergnes, V., Willie, J., Wittig, R., Zuberbuehler, K., and Boesch, C. (2016). Chimpanzee accumulative stone throwing. Scientific Reports, 6, 22219.

20. Moore, D.M., Langergraber, K.E., and Vigilant, L. (2015). Genetic analyses suggest male philopatry and territoriality in savanna-woodland chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) of Ugalla, Tanzania. International Journal of Primatology, 36: 377-397.

19. Hobaiter, C., Schel, A., Langergraber, K.E., and Zuberbühler, K. (2014). Adoption by maternal siblings in wild chimpanzees. PLoS One, 9: e103777.

18. Wittig, R.M., Crockford, C., Langergraber, K.E., and Zuberbühler, K. (2014). Triadic social interactions operate across time: a field experiment with wild chimpanzees. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences, 281: 20133155.

17. Langergraber, K.E., Rowney, C., Schubert, G., Crockford, C., Hobaiter, C., Wittig, R., Wrangham, R.W., Zuberbühler, K., and Vigilant, L. (2014). How old are chimpanzee communities? Time to the most recent common ancestor of the Y-chromosome in highly patrilocal societies. Journal of Human Evolution, 69, 1-7.

16. Langergraber, K.E., Rowney, C., Crockford, C., Wittig, R., Zuberbühler, K., and Vigilant, L. (2014). Genetic analyses suggest no immigration of adult females and their offspring into the Sonso community of chimpanzees in the Budongo Forest Reserve, Uganda. American Journal of Primatology, 76: 640-648. Cover article.

15. Wittig, R.M., Crockford, C., Deschner, T., Langergraber, K.E., Ziegler, T.E., and Zuberbühler, K. (2014). Food sharing is linked to urinary oxytocin levels and bonding in related and unrelated wild chimpanzees. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences, 281: 20133096.

14. Schubert, G., Vigilant, L., Boesch, C., Klenke, R., Langergraber, K.E., Mundry, R., Surbeck, M., and Hohmann, G. (2013). Co-residence between males and their mothers and grandmothers is higher in bonobos than chimpanzees. PloS One, 8: e83870.

13. Crockford, C., Wittig, R., Langergraber, K., Ziegler, T., Zuberbühler, K., and Deschner, T. (2013). Oxytocin and social bonding in related and unrelated wild chimpanzees. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences, 280: 20122765.

12. Langergraber, K.E., Mitani, J.C., Watts, D.P., and Vigilant, L. (2013). Male-female socio-spatial relationships and reproduction in wild chimpanzees. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 67: 861-873.

11. Prüfer, K., Langergraber, K.E., Pääbo, S., and Vigilant, L. (2013). Reply to Gibbs et al.: Divergence times, generation lengths, and mutation rates in great apes and humans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, 110. E612.

10. Langergraber, K.E., Prüfer, K., Rowney, C., Boesch, C., Crockford, C., Fawcett, K., Inoue, E., Inoue-Muruyama, M., Mitani, J.C., Muller, M.N., Robbins, M.M., Schubert, G., Stoinski, T.S., Viola, B., Watts, D., Wittig, R.M., Wrangham, R.W., Zuberbühler, K., Pääbo, S., and Vigilant, L. (2012). Generation times in wild chimpanzees and gorillas suggest earlier divergence times in great ape and human evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, 109: 15716-15721. Cover article.

9. Chancellor, R., Langergraber, K.E., Ramirez, S., Rundus, A.S., and Vigilant, L. (2012). Genetic sampling of unhabituated chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) in Gishwati Forest Reserve, an isolated forest fragment in western Rwanda. International Journal of Primatology, 33: 479-488.

8. Schubert, G., Stoneking, C.J., Arandjelovic, M., Boesch, C., Eckhardt, N., Hohmann, G., Langergraber, K.E., Lukas, D., Vigilant, L. (2011). Male-mediated gene flow in patrilocal primates. PLoS One, 6: e21514.

7. Langergraber, K.E., and Vigilant, L. (2011). Genetic differences cannot be excluded from generating behavioural differences among chimpanzee groups. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B, Biological Sciences, 278: 2094-2095.

6. Vigilant, L., and Langergraber, K.E. (2011). Inconclusive evidence for patrilocality in Neanderthals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, 108: e87.

5. Langergraber, K.E., Schubert, G., Rowney, C., Wrangham, R., Zommers, Z., and Vigilant, L. (2011). Genetic differentiation and the evolution of cooperation in chimpanzees and humans. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B, Biological Sciences, 278: 2546-2552. Cover article.

4. Langergraber, K.E., Boesch, C., Inoue, E., Inoue-Murayama, M., Mitani, J., Nishida, T., Pusey, A., Reynolds, V., Schubert, G., Wrangham, R., Wroblewski, E., and Vigilant, L. (2011). Genetic and ‘cultural’ similarity in wild chimpanzees. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B, Biological Sciences, 278: 408-416.

3. Langergraber, K.E., Mitani, J.C., and Vigilant, L. (2009). Kinship and social bonds in female chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). American Journal of Primatology 71: 840-851. Cover article.

2. Langergraber, K.E., Siedel, H., Mitani, J.C., Wrangham, R.W., Reynolds, V., Hunt, K.D., and Vigilant, L. (2007). The genetic signature of sex-biased migration in patrilocal chimpanzees and humans. PLoS One, 2: e973.

1. Langergraber, K.E., Mitani, J.C., and Vigilant, L. (2007). The limited impact of kinship on cooperation in wild chimpanzees. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, 104: 7786-7790. Cover article.

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