The focus of this visit was to observe primate behaviour. Twycross is renowned for its work with primate species including chimps, orang-utans and bonobos. The workshops included information on some evolutionary principles, examples of innate behaviours and learned behaviours, and animal communication. The girls then completed some ethograms, a method of recording behaviours in a systematic way using a checklist. The behaviour of the youngest chimps was particularly interesting, with one of them seemingly intent on annoying his elders and causing mayhem. Questions about the similarity of the behaviour of these primates and humans naturally arose!
The visit concluded with a look at the elephants. They have been carefully taught certain actions by their keepers, using the principles of operant conditioning, so that they can have health checks, for example lifting up a foot when prompted so that it can be inspected for any damage.