Sunday 23 April 2017

'Chimpcam' gets TV premiere

A chimpanzee using a special chimp-proof camera to shoot video footage
A chimpanzee using a special chimp-proof camera to shoot video footage
A chimpanzee using a special chimp-proof camera to shoot video footage
A chimpanzee using a special chimp-proof camera to shoot video footage

A film shot by chimpanzees is to feature in a nature documentary, scientists have said.

The animals at Edinburgh Zoo filmed the footage using a chimp-proof video camera given to them by an academic studying their behaviour.

The filming exercise was part of an 18-month project to explore how chimps perceive the world.

The 11 chimps were first taught to use touch-screen technology, which let them choose what they wanted to watch. They were able to choose images such as their keepers preparing food or their outside enclosure.

Scientists then gave the animals a video camera encased in a sturdy box with a monitor on the side so the chimps could see what they were filming.

The BBC2 documentary, to be broadcast on Wednesday at 8pm, explores the extent to which the chimps were aware of what they were seeing and filming, and allows viewers see the world through a chimp's eyes.

The project was led by behavioural scientist Betsy Herrelko, of the University of Stirling.

She said: "The Chimpcam Project was designed to let the chimps take us on a tour of their minds," she said.

"We created studies and activities but what happened after that was completely up to the chimps. We were along for the ride, hoping to learn a bit more about how they viewed the world. Being able to view life as the chimps see it is something that I will never forget."

The Chimpcam Project was a collaboration between the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, University of Stirling and Burning Gold Productions.

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