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Observer effect in great apes : animals in front of the camera 2.0

The so-called observer effect has already brought some physicist or some other scientist sleepless nights. Because nothing is in fact, what you want to investigate is not at all searchable, without this investigation, the influences examined at least a little bit. A couple of catchy examples: A fever thermometer affects the temperature of the patient, because it's always either colder or warmer than this, receives from him the heat, or emits. If you want to measure the tire pressure on his bike, have to let a little air out of the tires in the measuring device, as a result, the pressure drops. And if a physicist wants to demonstrate an electron, he must leave it with a Photon or other suitable particles to collide, which deflects the electron then inevitably. In quantum mechanics, is reported to be much stranger observer effects. And much of the physics of what is postulated, but not proven, is not or hardly is alone hidden because it interacts with anything else: Without an observer effect, any observation.

schrödinger's monkey

In animals, observers see effects, even beyond the "schrödinger's cat", usually a bit different. Often, unfortunately, so: There, where an observer goes, what he or she wants to observe, not look. Chimpanzees are a good example. It takes years to get used to people. But then, even if you bring in the monkeys with bananas, not without influence on the behavior of the animals. to minimize

the observer effect, on the one hand, and by a total of more info to gain on the other hand, are apes, researchers in recent years, begun in the lives of the animals cameras and camera room to fall or to hang. What have an effect on the animals, have investigated a few of them now. Researchers at the Leipzig Max-Planck-Institute for Evolutionary anthropology (MPI-EVA) for Videos from camera traps in the habitat of the monkeys.

or similar to the camera from falling.Photo: H. S. Cool

came Out that different people tribe of monkeys react quite differently to the unknown, from the people at the end of objects in their environment.

cool Chimps, irritated Bonobos

The analysis showed that the cameras chimpanzees largely cold. The closely related Bonobos responded more anxious. The study will deliver important insights to the behavior of the great apes. You could but also help to plan future country studies, with the cameras better, the researchers write in the journal "Current Biology".

"Our goal was to observe the reactions of chimpanzees, Bonobos and Gorillas to unknown objects in their natural habitat," explains Jo Kalan from the MPI-EVA. A Central question was whether the presence of research equipment such as Camera, the behavior of the animals affected and whether there are differences between the APE species.

The scientists collected more than 2000 Videos from camera traps, which had been recorded in 43 groups of chimpanzees, Bonobos, and Gorillas at 14 locations in Equatorial Africa. On the Videos to see how individual animals or groups approach the cameras that remain, the cameras are watching, and to then move it or remove it. The researchers evaluated whether and which animals, as long as the camera watched, and whether they were more curious or anxious.

children are curious

Particularly surprised the researchers from the different reaction of the chimpanzees and the Bonobos ("pygmy chimpanzees"), and on the other hand, two closely related species. "The chimpanzees were interested to fall in General, rather less for the Camera – they seemed to notice their presence very much felt, in General, not disturbed," describes Kalan. "The Bonobos, by contrast, felt of the camera traps disturbed, she approached them hesitantly, or were even deliberately."

A popular hypothesis, particularly chimpanzees should be curious. You use, for example, often sticks as tools to get to food. Such innovative behaviour requires curiosity. The camera may not have been covered simply interesting enough, the researchers suggest. Other items might have caused greater interest.

In the case of all species, the younger animals as they inspected the camera traps longer than the older ones. "Like human children, young apes will take up a lot of information to learn more about their environment. Your curiosity will help you," said Kalan. The monkey looked at, in principle, also no longer in the cameras, if you were alone on the road, as if you were in a group. This could be a proof for the assumption that animals are less vigilant, if you are in the company of their fellows on the road.

cameras

get used to The differences found would have to be taken into account when it comes to collect observation data and to evaluate, the researchers write. In future studies, may be a preparation phase should be scheduled in which the animals, the cameras can get used.

More about

chimpanzees in the Congo monkeys with culture

Roland Knauer

physically, a camera, a monkey is completely indifferent, over, observer effect has been seen but: catches, for example, photons that would otherwise have landed elsewhere in the environment of the animal. If it were not for the observer effect, would be here, too, observation is impossible. (rif/Reuters)

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