The primary mission of the Living Links Center is to study human evolution by investigating our close genetic, anatomical, cognitive, and behavioral similarities with great apes.
Apes may have retained traits in our common ancestor that we find hard to recognize in ourselves, or that we are not used to contemplating in an evolutionary light. While a century of studies have investigated how our physical attributes have been shaped by evolution, only recently has research begun to seriously address the role of evolution in human mental life.
The Living Links Center was established in 1997 for primate studies that shed light on human behavioral evolution. It is an integrated part of the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, which is the nation’s oldest and largest primate center. The Living Links Center is currently home to three socially housed groups of chimpanzees.