ASU primatologist continues to find surprises in a chimpanzee stronghold in Uganda
Kevin Langergraber has been studying chimpanzees in the wild for 15 years.
Before he became a professor and had to teach eight months out of the year, he’d spend six months to a year at a time in the field, 12 hours a day, seven days a week.
“The most surprising thing about the job is that you can still be surprised by the job,” said Langergraber, a primatologist and assistant professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social ChangeThe School of Human Evolution and Social Change is a unit of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. at Arizona State University.
“After a while you’d think, ‘OK — I’ve spent thousands of hours watching these guys. What is going to surprise me when I wake up and spend my 12-hour day in the forest?’ ” he said. “Despite all this time I’m still shocked when I go back and the chimps show me something I hadn’t seen before.”
Langergraber, who has been at ASU for a year and a half, co-directs the Ngogo Chimpanzee Project in Kibale National Park, Uganda, home to the largest wild chimp community in the world. About 200 individuals live in the 35-square-kilometer preserve in the middle of the 800-square-kilometer national park. The community has been studied since 1995.