Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest
Hope. Love. Home. Sanctuary for primates.
September 6, 2011 by Debbie
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September 6, 2011 at 3:16 pm
Jeani Goodrich says
September 6, 2011 at 3:25 pm
Oh those eyes! They see right into your soul!
Margaret and Karen says
September 6, 2011 at 4:21 pm
Yes indeed, I love that brown eyed Foxie! *)
Teresa in TN says
September 6, 2011 at 4:35 pm
whoever named her gave her the right name, she is a fox! 🙂
Linda (Portland, OR) says
September 6, 2011 at 6:45 pm
What a beauty!
Marcia Douthwaite says
September 6, 2011 at 7:46 pm
Foxie is beautiful and charming. Of course, I think all of them all, as well as handsome and endearing Burrito. Thank you for your loving care of them.
September 6, 2011 at 10:24 pm
Is it possible for chimps to have blue eyes? I just realized I look in their eyes all the time, but I just see emotions and expressions, I never notice color.
September 6, 2011 at 10:40 pm
Cari, that’s a great question! Most chimps have brown irises and no white sclera (instead it is black). I imagine there are a few rare instances of a chimp with blue eyes, but I am not sure. Unfortunately I am not an expert in this area, but my best guess would be that over the course of evolution, humans migrated from areas where there was a lot of sun and thus some populations lost pigment in their skin and eyes. Brown eye color is genetically dominant in humans, so the majority of humans do have brown eyes. It’s possible that since chimps live and have lived in equatorial Africa for millions of years, they simply have not been in an environment where they could spare to lose any pigment in their skin and/or eyes. However, like I said, I’m not an expert in genetics or evolution – it’s just my best guess! I’ll try to do some research and see if I can give a more sound answer.
September 6, 2011 at 10:53 pm
This article summarizes a study that proposes the “reason” for white sclera and colorful irises in humans is because we depend more on eye movement alone for communication and cooperation than other great apes.
I’m hesitant to completely support this hypothesis, mostly because I’m afraid it may mislead people to believe that chimps are not cooperative or do not have complex communication. In reality, they are very social critters and thus rely a lot on cooperation and communication between individuals. I haven’t read the actual study yet to see if there were any confounding variables (such as the atypical environment that the chimps are in — most of these cognitive studies look at chimps in a cage versus humans in their comfortable home environment, which to me could completely bias the results!) but it is an interesting hypothesis nonetheless.
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