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American Museum of Natural History Logo link: Congo Expedition Main Page

Primates Gallery

The photographs of primates exhibited here were collected in the Congo basin from 1909-1915 by the AMNH-sponsored American Museum Congo Expedition.

While one of the main goals of the Lang-Chapin Expedition was to gather physical specimens from the Congo for return to the Museum for study and display, the collection of photographic images in the field was also a major objective. The photographic technology of the day required the use of large glass plate negatives with slow film speeds. Thus, it was extremely difficult for expedition members to photograph Congo species, especially fast-moving primates, without capturing them first.

Photographs of this type provided permanent records of the appearance and major characteristics of individual specimens that would have been difficult to acquire by any other means. They were essential for taxonomy studies of their relationships to one another and to other primates.

Since 1915, many advances in technology (such as harmless darting, tagging and remote tracking) have made it possible to use much less invasive, less destructive methods to observe and study primates.

link to Primate Gallery

View the Primate Gallery