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As we sit in the sunshine, a pair of olive baboons chase each other across the thatched roof of the feeding station. The forest all around buzzes with the music of cicadas.

“Chimpanzees are so inventive,” Jane says. “They do lots of things they don’t need to for survival.” In different parts of Africa, chimps have been observed cracking open nuts with rocks, using twigs for “sandals” to protect their feet from thorns, consuming bitter plants apparently as medicine for stomachaches, and hunting in organized groups.

They are also very political, she says. Male chimps at Gombe, like neighborhood bosses, engage in much handshaking, backslapping, and hugging as they form shifting alliances.

“Has Frodo challenged Freud lately?” she asks Wallauer.

“No, but he's becoming more confident,” he replies. “Frodo never pant-grunts submissively to Freud anymore. The most he will do is climb out of his way.”

Wallauer, dressed in camouflage pants, soccer shoes, and a sleeveless black T-shirt, is one of the team continuing the work Jane began here. Following the chimps up and down Gombe’s steep trails to videotape their behavior, the 30-year-old Oregonian melts into the underbrush as effortlessly as his subjects. He identifies with them so closely he sometimes refers to the Kasakela chimps as “we.”

“The key to the political situation now is Goblin,” Wallauer says, referring to a shrewd former alpha. “If Goblin sides with Frodo, Frodo will easily defeat Freud to become the new alpha. But Goblin keeps going back and forth between them.”

“So they both need him,” Jane says.

“Exactly. Goblin sides with whoever looks most powerful. So no matter who wins, he can’t lose. Meanwhile he has access to any female he wants, right in front of everyone. Neither Freud nor Frodo will stop him, or they might lose his support. So smart.”

“Testosterone does such magic for men,” Jane says, a twinkle in her eye. 

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