News FocusChimpanzee Research Today

Cutting to the Bone Of Human Origins

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Science  02 Apr 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5974, pp. 43
DOI: 10.1126/science.328.5974.43

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Summary

Over the past 2 years, the Primate Foundation of Arizona has sent the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), 51 of its chimpanzees. UCSD has no housing for chimpanzees or any other primates on campus. But this group did not require special caging or experienced animal handlers: They were dead. The meticulously cleaned and preserved chimpanzee skeletons, each individual kept in a separate acid-free box, is a treasure trove for researchers, who can also access the medical records and observation logs of the animals, as well as stored serum samples. And in conjunction with the Salk Institute for Biological Studies across the street, UCSD is making the collection a centerpiece of its recently launched Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny, which is now doing computed tomography scans of the bones and plans to make the digitized images available on the Internet.