The world's oldest known chimpanzee twins, Golden and Glitter, are among the most successful non-human primate social networkers, with well over a thousand friends at their Facebook page alone. Born on July 13, 1998, the now eleven-year-old twins have defied the odds and continue to surprise staff at Gombe National Park, which is also home to the Jane Goodall Institute.
(Golden and Glitter when they were younger; Credit: JGI)
Chimpanzee twins rarely survive because caring for them is so difficult. Mothers must carry them, with the extra weight limiting mobility and foraging. Mothers also often serve as their infants' sole protectors, so it takes quite a force of nature for a mother to haul around two babies while fighting off other aggressive chimps and threatening carnivores, even humans. Gremlin— Golden and Glitter's mother— was one such Super Mom. James Bond-style, she even foiled a double attack by two big aggressive females, Fifi and Fanni.
At the age of five, the twins set off on their own, but still spend a lot of time with their mother and other siblings.
Over the years, the sisters have provided interesting data for researchers studying primate twins. Although Glitter is more shy and Goldie more "rough and tumble," the two are both expert termiters. Thanks to video studies on the pair, scientists now believe that females "learn to use tools sooner and with more diligence than males," according to their Facebook page.
FB also asks: Will the twins remain inseparable?
“I suspect they will continue to have a close
personal relationship – traveling together, grooming together, raising
their kids together – throughout their lives,” says Gombe videographer
To watch the twins in action, please visit this JGI page.
I also invite you to visit our Animal Planet page on wildlife hero Jane Goodall. You'll find more related videos there. You can also nominate your own "Green Works" hero.