The 20 Best Blogs for learning about Primates

Image of Vanessa Woods with bonobo at Lola ya ...
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One of the fascinating things about primatology — the study of primates, for those who’ve forgotten their suffixes — is that it can be applied to so many professional fields, from biology and zoology to more far-reaching areas like anthropology and psychology. Studying these animals means examining our close relatives and learning what makes them, us, and the world itself tick. College courses in the field cover everything from animal behavior to the languages of apes, and from the study of habitats to the exploration of human-primate interaction. The blogs rounded up below are among the best in the field, especially for students looking to get a better understanding of all primatology has to offer. Plus, bonus: monkey pictures.

  1. Primatology.net: This stripped-down WordPress blog is low on frills but high on great content, including the latest news on animal discoveries and primate study centers. (Thispost about a study comparing ape behavior in the exhibit and holding areas of a zoo is a great example.) Definitely a source to bookmark.
  2. Afarensis: Anthropology, Evolution, and Science: Taking the title and mock persona of a hominid that lived millions of years ago, Afarensis offers bite-sized but invaluable blurbs and links to major primatology news as well as other sharp bloggers in the field. Tons of archives and a deep blogroll make it a worthy read.
  3. Primate Freedom: Fantastically detailed posts offering context and history for primate news, especially relating to cruel lab tests. One of the smarest ways to stay informed.
  4. DNApes: DNApes, given their title, isn’t one to shy away from mixing humor with primatology. (The picture on their Facebook page speaks volumes.) They post a variety of news articles and video links, with the occasional joke or fake story thrown in for good measure. Lighthearted but never dumb.
  5. MonkeyWatch: MonkeyWatch is basically like having an RSS feed for primate news. The posts usually don’t have a lot of additional writing beyond a summary and link out, but the news being reported is still perfect for primatology students. Basic but very helpful.
  6. The Prancing Papio: Raymond Ho started this blog when he was an undergraduate getting a bachelor’s degree in anthropology. Now a graduate and devoted primatologist, he continues to write with informed and strong opinions about animal news and research.
  7. Savage Minds: Savage Minds is great for students because it’s a collective blog authored by Ph.D. candidates and professors with the goal of exploring anthropology (including primatology) and making it a lot easier to digest for broad audiences. Their news and opinion pieces are mixed with lighter fare like best of the web round-ups.
  8. Your Inner BonoboBonobo Handshake author Vanessa Woods runs this blog as part of the Psychology Today brand, and she focuses on chimp news from around the world.
  9. Bone Girl: Kristina Killgrove ranges far and wide in her blog — as a physical anthropologist, she’s into the Fox series Bones — but she also touches on primate issues with skill and intelligence.
  10. Barbara J. King: Barbara King, the Chancellor Professor of Anthropology at the College of William & Mary, has studied apes across Africa and the United States and holds multiple degrees in anthropology. Basically, she knows what she’s saying, and if you know what’s good, you’ll read.
  11. Beast Ape and the Bleeding Heart Baboons: Run by an anonymous doctoral student in the midwest, this blog is devoted to behavioral biology and all that entails, including primatology and psychology.
  12. A Primate of Modern Aspect: Another anonymously run blog by a graduate student from the Great Lakes region (there must be hell to pay for mouthing off against fellow academics online), this site offers incisive breakdowns of current primate research as well as entertaining observations on the life of a grad student.
  13. John Hawks Weblog: Paleoanthropology, Genetics, and Evolution: Anthropologist John Hawks teaches at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and blogs about everything from early man to monkey behavior. A wide-ranging but always entertaining blog from one of the most committed bloggers in the field.
  14. Spider Monkey Tales: Although not updated quite as frequently as some others, Spider Monkey Tales makes up for that by offering great insights and images from monkey research in the field. A great way for students to get a grasp on what the life is like.
  15. This Is Serious Monkey Business: Blogging from a university anthropology department, this writer is a self-proclaimed “budding primatologist” whose posts focus on monkey life, culture, and research. Always loads of solid info.
  16. The Monkey Matters Blog: Blogger Kenny Chiou is a researcher and field biologist with a passion for primate evolution. His blog and the archives provide a fascinating firsthand look at what it’s like to study primates in their natural habitats and learn from their lives.
  17. Neighbor Ape: Jill Pruetz writes from Senegal, on the western coast of Africa, with the goal of raising awareness about chimpanzees there and raising money to save them. It also covers charity work aimed at locals.
  18. Beyond Bones: Run by the Houston Museum of Natural Science, this insightful blog covers history and culture from an anthropological perspective.
  19. Nature Alert: The giant banner says it all: “Dedicated to helping save orangutans and their forest homes.” Some of the news reports about abused or slaughtered animals are heartbreaking, but that dedication to exposing and ending cruelty is precisely what makes this blog such a necessary read.
  20. Great Apes Blog: Hosted by National Geographic, this blog offers news and insights from field conservationists working throughout Asia and Africa to preserve great apes. A fantastic global perspective on the plight of primates.
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One Comment on “The 20 Best Blogs for learning about Primates”


  1. You might also find this one interesting:
    http://www.thaimonkeyforest.com


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