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Central Washington University

CWU Alumna Studies Chimpanzees in Uganda

Maureen McCarthy, a 2007 Central Washington University alumna, has more than a decade of experience studying captive and free-ranging primates. She is currently in Uganda for a year to study the behavioral ecology and genetics of chimpanzees in fragmented forest habitats. McCarthy received her master’s degree in experimental psychology from CWU, where she studied chimpanzees who acquired American Sign Language. She is currently a PhD candidate in Integrative and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Southern California.

She writes a blog for Scientific American about her studies. In her latest entry, she describes waking up to an earthquake and the animals’ responses.

“It had been a long day in the field and we were all exhausted. I crawled into bed amid a thunderstorm and listened to the loud claps of thunder and the rushing sound of rain falling on the ground outside. I started to doze as the thunder gradually softened and the rain turned to light drizzle. Abruptly, I was jarred awake by the harsh and unmistakable vibrations of an earthquake . . .”

Read more here.   

Photo caption: One of many chimpanzees across Western Uganda to experience an earthquake last week. Photo by Jack Lester.