Brief History

Chimpanzees at this site (south of Lake Rutanzige [ex-Edward]) have been studied for a relatively short period of time, but it is of interest because the primary investigator, Jeanne Sept, is (I believe) the first paleoarchaeologist to attempt to address early hominid behavior by collecting data on chimpanzees; a number of primatologists (myself included) have tried to apply conclusions about apes to understanding hominids but Sept is coming at the problem from "the other side." Sept also worked on vegetation at the Semliki Valley (north of L. Rutanzige) and the bibliography below contains articles referring to both sites (note that ongoing research at "Semliki" by Kevin Hunt is near but does not overlap Sept's Semliki study area).

Primary source for the following is Sept (1992b); see also


Name: Ishasha River
Location: D. R. Congo/Uganda border, 0° 37' S, 29° 39' E
Status: The river separates the Parc National des Virunga (D. R. Congo) and Rwenzori NP (Uganda); Sept worked along the Congo side
Area: 10km section of river ...
Altitude: --- m
Temp: --- °C
Rainfall: 750mm/yr
Vegetation: Closed-canopy riverine gallery (dominated by e.g. Cynometra alexandrii, Pterygota mildebraedii, Chrysophyllum albidum) and dry forest ecotone separating the gallery from surrounding wooded grasslands (dry forest mainly Ebenaceae and thickets of Capparaceae and Euphorbiaceae) (See Sept 1990 for Semliki plants)
Disturbance ratings -- ---
P. t. schweinfurthii
--- individuals per km2 (10-25 individuals suspected in study area)
Fauna: ---
Ishasha: 1989-1990
Semliki: 1986
Habituation: None
Conservation: ---
Methods: Vegetation and nest transects
Dr. Jeanne Sept, Dept. of Anthropology, Indiana University, Bloomington IN 47405 (
Habitat photos Link to Jeanne Sept's page.
Maps ---
Aerial photos ---
Bibliography References for data found in this site, and other sources relating to Ishasha
  • Fitzer, P. W., Schoeninger, M. J. & Sept, J. M. (1993). Stable isotope variation in chimpanzees: implications for diet selectivity in early hominids [abstract]. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. Supplement 16: 85-86.
  • Sept, J. (1998). Shadows on a changing landscape: comparing nesting patterns of hominids and chimpanzees since their last common ancestor. Am. J. Primatol. 46: 85-101.
  • Sept, J. M. (1990). Vegetation studies in the Semliki Valley, Zaire as a guide to paleoanthropological research. pp. 95-121 IN Boaz, N. T. (Ed.), Evolution of Environments and Hominidae in the African Western Rift Valley (Virginia Mus. Nat. Hist. Memoir No. 1). Martinsville: Virginia Museum of Natural History.
  • Sept, J. M. (1992a). Archaeological evidence and ecological perspectives for reconstructing early hominid subsistence behavior. Arch. Method Theor. 4: 1-56.
  • Sept, J. M. (1992b). Was there no place like home? A new perspective on early hominid archaeological sites from the mapping of chimpanzee nests [with commentaries]. Curr. Anthropol. 33: 187-207.
  • Sept, J. M. (1994). Beyond bones: archaeological sites, early hominid subsistence, and the costs and benefits of exploiting wild plant foods in east African riverine landscapes. J. Hum. Evol. 27: 295-320.
  • Sept, J. M. (1994). Bone distribution in a semi-arid riverine habitat in eastern Zaire: implications for the interpretation of faunal assemblages at early archeological sites. J. Archaeol. Sci. 21: 217-235.
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