Primatology is the study of primates. It is a branch of biology and is closely related to physical anthropology, which is the primatology of genus Homo, especially Homo sapiens. The fields cross over in the study of the hominids, which includes all ancestors of man and the other African Apes. Modern primatology is an extremely diverse science. It ranges from anatomical studies of primate ancestors and field studies of primates in their natural habitat, to experiments in animal psychology and ape language. It has cast an immense amount of light on basic human behaviors and ancient ancestry of these behaviors.
Key 20th-century primatologists include Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey Birute Galdikas as well as other key researchers such as Karen Strier, Frans de Waal, Sherwood Washburn and the multitude of others who have given their most important contributions to the science.
Rwanda also known as the land of “Gorillas in the Mist” has its star tourist attraction in the Mountain Gorillas. The giant but gentle primates were the subject of the late Dian Fossey who dedicated her life to their protection and conservation. Her detailed work is best seen in the international acclaimed film “Gorillas in the Mist”, which was shot in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park.
The Mountain Gorillas spend most of their time in the hagenia woodlands and bamboo forests. During the rainy season when new bamboo shoots are growing, the gorillas forage at base altitude. The climb to the natural habitat of bamboo forest and Hagenia woodlands offers fantastic views.
Nyungwe is celebrated for its rich variety of primates with 13 recorded species. Of particular interest are the Angola colobus - delightfully acrobatic arboreal monkeys which move in troops of several hundred - and an estimated 500 chimpanzee. Other primates one might encounter are L’Hoest’s monkey, silver monkey, vervet monkey, olive baboon, grey-cheeked mangabey and red-tailed monkey.
When visiting the ‘Land of a Thousand Hills’, one should not miss out on the magnificent opportunity to visit Rwanda's consisting of 125 Km2 of mountain forest and home to the six Virunga Volcanoes and the world famous mountain gorillas.
Protected within the Parc National des Volcans (PNV), the lushly forested slopes of the mountains form an appropriately dramatic natural setting for what is arguably the most poignant and memorable wildlife experience in the world: gorilla tracking. The exhilarating climb to the gorilla’s natural habitat of shady bamboo forest offers fantastic views in all directions, before the trackers are immersed in the mysterious intimacy of the rainforest, alive with the calls of colourful birds and the chattering of rare golden monkey.
Nothing can prepare one for the impact of encountering a fully-grown silverback gorilla, up to three times the size of an average man, yet remarkably peaceable and tolerant of human visitors.
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