Today is all about Mave (aka Mavis)!
Last week, Diana invited all of our followers and readers to submit whatever questions they may have (this includes you). One question which was asked on the Facebook post was about Mave’s eyes. I personally cannot resist talking about Mave in general because she is such a unique individual. That goes without saying, her eyes are also unique among the 10 chimpanzee residents here.
Her eyes are a little bit lighter in coloration compared to the rest. The question asked was to clarify the coloration of the outside (sclera) of Mave’s eyes. The follower was curious if Mave’s sclera was lighter in color, similar to a human’s eye. The answer is yes!
Mave does have a lighter tone of sclera. Compared to someone like Jamie:
Though chimpanzees generally have darker sclera and lighter iris, it is not uncommon for some chimpanzees to deviate from this. The easiest explanation for this is genetics. Some chimpanzees inherit a mutated gene that causes their sclera to be white or lighter brown in stead of black. A classic example is the case of Pincer. Pincer was and adult male of the Ngogo community in the Kibale Forest of Uganda. He is also well known due to his unique expressive eyes and has been photographed and filmed for many documentaries. While most of the males in Ngogo have the traditional eye coloration, Pincer was born with a mutated gene that caused him to have eyes that looked human, which he passed down to the several children he sired, who also have his eyes.
There are several theories as to why chimpanzees are so different compared to humans in this aspect. One of the most prominent theories is the “cooperative eye hypothesis.” This states that humans adapted to have a lighter sclera and darker iris in order to communicate more effectively. It’s easier to follow the gaze of someone with a light sclera and dark iris. Conversely, chimpanzees adapted to having darker sclera and lighter iris to hide their intentions, making their gaze more cryptic. I.e. if they are looking at a high value food item, it would be harder for others to see what they see or where they are looking.
This has been a long accepted theory, though recently researchers have started to question if this is the case. Last year, researchers discovered there wasn’t too much difference between the contrast between the iris and pupil in chimpanzees, bonobos, and humans. This just means though we have opposite coloration schematics in our sclera/iris contrasts, the ratio between light and dark is essentially the same. Though we think it’s easier to follow the gaze of a human with white sclera and a darker iris, chimpanzees may think it’s easier to follow along with someone with a darker sclera and lighter iris.
Regardless of the theories, I think we can all agree that we all love Mave and her eyes are just one more thing that makes her, her own unique individual here (though all 10 of them are unique).
That being said, let’s go into a Day In The Life of Mave!
When caregivers first arrive in the morning, the first thing we do is immediately start to make breakfast. Mave is a firm believer that breakfast is the most important meal of the day! She gets really excited when she sees breakfast being brought out! (You can hear it here.)
I tried to get a shot of her initial reaction to seeing breakfast, but she was too quick for the camera to focus on.
After breakfast, Mave generally is very low key. She will spend a lot of time grooming by herself, or with Willy B and Honey B grooming them.
Lunch with Mave can be hit or miss. She will either show some (minor) excitement for it, or just wait for the one or two things she wants offered and leaves.
After lunch, she loves to spend time in the Mezzanine. Usually, grooming (either herself or someone else) or gazing at herself in the Looky Lou mirror. Who can blame her?
When she’s not doing any of those things, she loves to relax.
She also has a very distinctive pose all of the staff try to capture when she’s relaxing where she looks like she’s deep in thought.
When dinner comes around, she shows almost (but not quite) the same excitement as breakfast. I want to re-share this photo from yesterday of her eating spaghetti because I like it.
After dinner is finished, it’s time for nighttime enrichment.
Then it is bed time!
Mave really finds away to entrench herself into the hearts of everybody who gets to know her!
And don’t forget! You can help support Mave by becoming a Chimpanzee Pal!