Archival Research

Archival Research_1

The original core of the center is a collection of materials from the longitudinal behavioral study of wild chimpanzees at Gombe National Park, Tanzania. These include both Jane Goodall’s long-term written field notes, for a project that now has passed its 50th year, and also Christopher Boehm’s collection of videotapes from Gombe, which comprise 450 hours of scientifically-collected behavioral records.  Many of these applications involve a visual approach to research methodology. Professor Gary Seaman created a dedicated multi-media computer program to integrate the two types of chimpanzee data (visual and written) into an interactive database, with a working model now in existence. Seaman has also taken responsibility for the copying and archiving of chimpanzee videotapes and other visual materials archived at the Center.  In addition, Seaman is engaged in an ongoing project in ethnography: he has produced a visually-oriented interactive CD Rom on the Yanomamo Indians of South America, and is working on a similar ethnographic project for the Tiv of Nigeria.

Archival Research_2

Christopher Boehm, with substantial assistance from the Templeton Foundation, is developing a database on hunter-gatherer social and political behavior that will assist research into the human past and particularly the evolution of cooperation in the context of hunting, a behavior that humans share with wild chimpanzees. Seaman is now designing a search engine for this interactive archive. Boehm also has used the visual archive to publish on conflict interventions by which high-ranking chimpanzees pacify conflicts within their groups, on patrolling behavior at Gombe, and on how chimpanzee infants acquire tool-use skills as part of learning a social tradition.