A Web log, or blog, co-written by Harvard researcher Ian Gilby, working in Uganda’s Kibale Forest, makes vivid the family lives of chimpanzees. The blog, on the Anthropology Department Web site, also provides an unusual glimpse into the daily life of a field scientist.
The blog was the brainchild of Alex Georgiev, a graduate student in anthropology who was working with Gilby last fall to update the Kibale Chimpanzee Project’s Web site. Georgiev argued that the Web site ought to have changing features that bring people back again. The blog was one way to do that, Gilby said.
In addition to drawing people to the Web site, however, Gilby said the blog is a new way for scientists to communicate to the public. Details of the life of a field scientist are typically missing from the scientific papers summarizing research findings. An account of what chimpanzees are like when you’re sitting next to them may give readers an entirely different feeling about the animals than they would get from reading about the latest discovery of chimp behavior or anatomy.