"The growing field of citizen science is centered around the idea that involving the general public in scientific research can potentially produce more accurate data faster than a just few scientists could", says Mimi Arandjelovic, primatologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. "At Chimp&See, citizen scientists can classify videos to tell the official research team which species of animal is present, how many individuals there are, which behaviors they are doing, and, in the case of chimpanzees, identifying the specific individuals who are there." With this information, the research team can determine the habitat distribution of dozens of species, how they interact with one another and answer a myriad of evolutionary, ecological and conservation questions facing African wildlife today.
Citizen scientists can also directly contribute to studying how chimpanzees use tools as well as their social behaviors. If you're lucky, you can spot a chimpanzee using tools to accomplish tasks like cracking nuts or collecting honey - something that was once thought to be a uniquely human behavior. Given how closely related human beings and chimpanzees are, collecting data like this can help researchers uncover how our ancestors lived, evolved, and became dependent upon tools for survival. "The project also aims to inspire people and organizations to take an interest in learning about and protecting these stunning habitats and the amazing animals that live there", says Hjalmar Kuehl, an ecologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv).
Data from citizen scientists
Between 2015 and 2018, over 50,000 citizen scientists at Chimp&See classified more than 140,000 videos and contributed to the data that was used in papers on nocturnal chimpanzee activity and ape reactions to camera traps. Starting July 15th, Chimp&See will relaunch on its new platform http://www.
If you have never classified animals and their behaviors before, don't worry! There is a classification guide and an experienced team of moderators to help answer any questions that come up along the way. We want to thank everyone who has contributed so far and look forward to working with our growing community in the years to come! "Chimp&See is a great way for families, classrooms, and individuals to get involved in science", says Arandjelovic. "So, whether you're curious about what chimpanzees do with their friends, or you want to make meaningful contributions to science, consider joining the Chimp&See community."