Friday, April 6, 2012

Chimpanzees and Facebook

chimpanzees, biodiversity, facebook, Gillette Stadium
I heard two astonishing statistics this week, both from my students.

The first is that all the chimpanzees in the world couldn't fill Gillette Stadium.

Gillette Stadium can seat almost 70,000 people. Scouting about the Internet, including places like the Wild Chimpanzee Foundation, where the evolutioary tree graphic to the left is from, you find that there are less than 100,000 chimpanzees left in the wild. So, you'd need to sit a bunch of them on the field, but it's astonishing to think that we humans fill football stadiums all over the world on a weekly basis, and our nearest evolutionary relatives, who numbered more than a million just twenty years ago, can barely fill one stadium. And their numbers are falling due to poaching and land conversion.

The second astonishing statistic I heard this week, also during discussion with my students, is that 1 in 8
people in the world is on Facebook. Facebook has 845 million monthly users and there are 7 billion people
in the world. Methinks we should start friending some chimpanzees before it's too late.

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