Wednesday, July 31, 2002


Advocate for unwilling captives
Woodbury's Whitman seeks proper treatment of apes in U.S.
Tuesday, July 30, 2002
Written by Mark Azzara
2002 Republican-American

The decennial counting is over, the numbers are in, and the U.S. Census Bureau will be spitting out its analysis of American society for years to come.

Sarah Whitman of Woodbury is taking a U.S. census, too. Her target population is in the thousands, rather than hundreds of millions, and there's a real urgency to her work because lives are at stake. Lives like Patti the chimpanzee.

Patti's artwork is featured on the Web site of the Great Ape Project, an international animal-rights organization that Whitman joined in 1997 as a volunteer. She was hired in May 2000 on a part-time basis to count all the gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees and bonobos in the U.S. — in testing laboratories, movie studios, breeding centers, petting zoos and fly-by-night circuses. And she's still counting, although now she also moved up to full-time associate director....

Not too long ago, human primates were displayed in zoos for others' entertainment: Primates on Exhibit.


Lop Buri Zoo to become monkey park
Published on Jul 31, 2002

The Zoological Park Organisation (ZPO) will give a female chimpanzee to the private Lop Buri Zoo as part of a cooperative effort to turn the zoo into a special monkey park to promote tourism in the province, the agency's chief said yesterday.

Lop Buri is an ancient city with monkeys as the provincial symbol. The provincial administration has, therefore, cooperated with the private zoo to build parks with various breeds and species of monkeys, said Phisit na Phatthalung, director of the ZPO.

The Lop Buri Zoo has a male chimpanzee named Tangme, so the ZPO will give a 20-year-old female chimpanzee, named Mint, from the Khao Khiew Open Zoo, to Tangme as a mate, said Phisit.

A Lop Buri-Bang Saen-Pattaya-Khao Khiew rally will be held on August 10 for Lop Buri people to receive Mint as a bride for Tangme, said Lop Buri Zoo director Samorn Srithandorn....

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

Guess what? Cute and cuddly young chimps grow up into strong, and strong-willed, wild adult animals. And then they are no good as pets, playthings, or performers.


Michael Jackson may face a cash crunch
Pop goes the King?
July 29, 2002 Posted: 5:01 PM EDT (2101 GMT)

...Jackson's onetime beloved buddy, Bubbles the chimpanzee, lives at trainer Bob Dunn's ranch in Sylmar, California. At 19, "Bubbles is an adult chimp and a wild animal," says Dunn. "We don't let him out to play." Instead Jackson and his children visit the ranch to frolic with some baby chimps. "He still acts like a kid around them," says Dunn....

Such cruel fun. Bothered enough to do something? Click here.


Not your average skateboarders
July 30, 2002

...this week, as the Philips Fusion contest sets its $45,000 portable wood Soul Bowl upon Huntington Beach, the skateboarders will include some extreme extremists:...

"Jack," a chimpanzee - as in yes, the hairy mammal, the primate, the pan troglodytes - who skates....

The chimp goes by the name Jack. He starred in the Universal Pictures release, "MVP 2 - Most Vertical Primate" as a skateboarder.

The chimp is scheduled to skate Friday afternoon in the Soul Bowl. Elguera no doubt will be saying prayers for the chimp. So will Sasha.

"I've seen this chimp skate, and it can catch air," Sasha said. "I guess this shows how popular skateboarding has become and how everyone - or every thing - is doing it."...

Monday, July 29, 2002

One might well ask, what is the benefit to the chimpanzees of knowing how to read, write, or do arithmetic?


MANILA, PHILIPPINES, Tuesday, July 30, 2002

Chimps quest for learning documented on television
Meet Keeli and Ivy. They're typical toddlers -- mugging for the camera, begging for sweets, throwing tantrums and horsing around. They're learning their ABCs, and they're extra excited on holidays, they have a hard time sitting still and they just love the playground. However, a small but critically important 1% genetic difference makes Keeli and Ivy chimpanzees, not humans. Yet, because they're so close to humans on the evolutionary tree, scientists are working with chimps to learn if they can think like humans, and, more remarkably, use language. For the past four years, Animal Planet's cameras have recorded scientific history in the making, and the results are now ready for view.

Keeli & Ivy: Chimps Like Us follows psychology professor Sally Boysen and her graduate students at The Ohio State University Chimpanzee Center....


Poaching threatens elephants in DRC
July 29, 2002 Posted: 9:47 AM EDT (1347 GMT)

By Gary Strieker

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo -- Elephants are under threat in the northern Democratic Republic of Congo as demand for their meat grows in the Central African Republic, a conservationist says....

It is a home for a combination of forest and savannah wildlife, possibly including a type of large chimpanzee still unknown to science.

If poaching continues and elephants are soon eliminated, the next targets would be other large animal species like bongos and chimpanzees until all the wildlife there is also destroyed, leaving local people in an impoverished environment without important food resources....

Sunday, July 28, 2002


A love affair with chimpanzees
Special to The Journal
British couple has saved scores of chimps destined for slaughter
IN MY FAMILY TREE: A Life with Chimpanzees, by Sheila Siddle with Doug Cress. Grove Press. 284 pages. $25.

Books about living with animals are a well-loved genre, not necessarily because of their literary qualities, but for the vicarious experience of being close to a wild creature.

For 20 years, Sheila Siddle and her husband, David, Britishers who have spent most of their adult lives in Africa, centered their activities and their emotions on orphaned chimpanzees, raising them from infancy to adulthood. They give us a view of chimps that is both fascinatingly intimate and disturbingly poignant. With chimpanzees, the human-animal boundary shifts and slides in an unsettling way....

Much has been written about chimpanzees. Scientists have raised them, taught them sign language and tried to assess their intellect. Siddle's book is different. It tells us what scientific writers leave out. She writes about the humanity of chimps; their feelings and perceptions, their ability to cope and their inherent limitations; all the things that make them so like us and so different, so near to us and yet so far.

The emotions of chimps eerily mirror our own. They laugh and cry. They hurt each other and comfort each other. They hug and kiss. They are selfish, but can be generous. They can be crafty and know how to bargain. One clever chimp was expert at stealing some small object from Siddle and holding it for ransom until the price was right. The currency was cookies....

Open your eyes and see behind the scenes at the zoo. Here is a photo of Terry Chimpanzee, imprisoned at an unaccredited Las Vegas zoo in what looks like a 3rd-world jail cell. For an in-depth look, read "Animal Underworld: Inside America's Black Market for Rare and Exotic Species," by Alan Green.


Nation & World 8/5/02
Cruel and usual
How some of America's best zoos get rid of their old, infirm, and unwanted animals
By Michael Satchell

New Braunfels, Texas–Deep amid the weeds and trash alongside Interstate 35, rusty cages and flimsy wire enclosures hold what's left of a former roadside zoo: six primates, three or four New Guinea singing dogs, a few exotic birds, and several African meerkats. The saddest residents are two rare white-handed gibbons, small apes listed as an endangered species. But the male-female pair is imperiled for another reason. They are the neglected castoffs from one of the nation's top wildlife institutions, the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, N.Y.

The two gibbons were discovered by a reporter one recent broiling day in a filthy cage with no water and a few scraps of rotten fruit. Their plight points to a little-known practice by some of the nation's premier zoos: dumping surplus, old, or infirm animals into a vast, poorly regulated–and often highly profitable–network of substandard, "roadside" zoos and wildlife dealers who supply hunting ranches and the exotic-pet trade.

Though these small zoos, along with traveling circuses and other animal shows, are licensed and inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, their inhabitants often exist in cramped compounds and tiny cages with poor protection from the elements, marginal food, and spotty veterinary care. They typically get little psychological enrichment beyond a tire swing, a plastic ball, and a few dead tree branches. Half crazy from boredom and lack of exercise, the highly social primates and cooped-up predators often mutilate themselves and spend hours pacing to and fro and biting the bars of their cages.

With summer in full swing and people staying closer to home, Americans are flocking to the nation's big zoos. There are 205 such facilities accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, and they attract some 135 million people a year–6 million more than attend major-league sporting events. Most of these zoos provide spacious natural habitats and expert care. But when animals begin to age and become less attractive, and curators have to make room for the spring crop of new babies, many big zoos give the old-timers the bum's rush. "Dumping animals," says Richard Farinato, head of captive wildlife protection for the Humane Society of the United States, "is the big, respectable zoos' dirty little secret."...

Slap on the wrist. Commercial animal exhibitors, dealers, breeders, and biomedical testing labs are governed by the 1966 Animal Welfare Act. The law sets minimal standards for food storage, housing, and veterinary care. It has no cruelty statute, has weak enforcement provisions, and provides for only token fines. On the critical issue of cage size, the law stipulates only that animals must have enough room to stand, turn around, and maintain a normal posture, making it perfectly legal to keep a chimp in a broom closet or a lion in a cage the size of a powder room. For years, leading animal welfare organizations have lobbied Congress for more humane standards and tougher enforcement. "There's no aggressive investigation and no consistent follow-up," complains Cindy Carroccio, director of the Austin Zoo, an accredited sanctuary that houses unwanted or confiscated exotics. "They're scared of litigation, they don't allow their inspectors to testify even in the worst cruelty cases, and they refuse to close the bad places down."

Often, it's not just a matter of will but of bodies. Last year, the USDA had fewer than 100 inspectors to keep tabs on about 9,000 licensed facilities from zoos to animal testing labs. In some years, the number of USDA inspectors has fallen as low as 64....

Evidently, higher-ups at the Agriculture Department see little problem with any of this. Chester Gipson, the USDA's deputy administrator of animal-care services, declined a request by U.S. News to discuss the inspections process. His predecessor, Ron DeHaven, blamed "radical animal-rights groups" for exaggerating concerns about inadequate or abusive care of exotic animals. "We have taken very stringent enforcement actions against roadside zoos, [but] we can't be at every facility every day," he says. "It was never the intent of Congress to establish conditions [for appropriate animal care]; and for me to comment on the law is inappropriate and counterproductive to the way our system works."

Auction block. The way the system works would make many of the moms and dads and their bright-eyed charges who so enjoy a trip to the local zoo blanch. In some cases, animals from big zoos pass through places like the Lolli Brothers exotic animal auction in Macon, Mo., reputedly the biggest of its kind in the United States. At the recent May sale, the action was fast and furious with a veritable Noah's ark collection–monkeys, zebras, camels, wildebeest, ostriches, kangaroos, Russian boars, giant tortoises, parrots, peacocks, even boa constrictors–hustled through the auction ring. A 12-year-old female chimp drew a bid of $10,500...

Roadside zoos often operate on thin profit margins. But some raise money–and gain the imprimatur of legitimacy–by declaring themselves "sanctuaries" or "preserves," obtaining 501c (3) nonprofit status from the Internal Revenue Service and soliciting public donations to "save an endangered species." The nation's 60 or more legitimate, accredited sanctuaries don't breed or sell animals, but these other so-called pseudosanctuaries allow their wildlife to mate and then sell the offspring or add to their collections–often exacerbating the substandard care....

There's no ready solution to the problems, but some zoo officials say that for starters, AZA-accredited zoos should take greater responsibility for assuring the lifelong welfare of their charges. "Any animal that devotes its life to being an ambassador for its own kind–even against its will–is owed a decent retirement," says Terry Maple, director of Zoo Atlanta and a former AZA president. "Zoo animals are held in trust to the service of humanity, and we shouldn't banish them to a terrible fate just because they have outlived their usefulness."

Friday, July 26, 2002

As you read this, remember that these are the sentient beings whom, in the name of "science," we imprison for decades in 5'x5'x7' cages with nothing to do but play with their feces. Read about a typical day for a lab chimpanzee.


Chimps are the next smartest
By April Holladay for USA TODAY

Q: Next to humans, what animal is smartest?

A: Probably the chimpanzee is the next smartest animal although bonobos are close contenders. Parrots are also adept at using tools and solving problems.

Chimps make tools — hammer stones and anvils to crack nuts, leaf sponges to soak up water, and sticks to gather ants, to name a few. A chimp pokes a long stick into an anthill and waits until a ball of ants collects on the stick. She pops the ball into her mouth like a marshmallow, and then polishes off the remaining ants on the stick, like eating corn on the cob.

Chimps cooperate in the hunt. Three male chimps work together high in the trees to block the escape of a monkey. They successfully trap a red colobus monkey and one of the three hunters makes the kill. The two non-killing hunters sit close by the third, watch his every mouthful, and hold out begging hands. Finally the hunter gives one friend a meat hunk but not the other one. By sharing the kill, they achieve rank and influence. Like humans, they are highly status conscious.

They manipulate each other to get what they want and they deceive one another on occasion. They analyze a problem and solve it.

Humans have taught captive chimps sign language, which the chimps use to talk with each other. They teach the language to their young without human help. They combine signs to form new "words": for example, DRINK FRUIT means a watermelon. Chimps learn symbols and teach them to other chimps. They understand numbers and numerical sequences.

They play, tickle, snuggle, kiss, and laugh together.

Further surfing:
Discover Chimpanzees
Indiana U, Jeanne Sept: Chimpanzees, our sister species
Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute: FAQ about chimps

Thursday, July 25, 2002


BEER HOVEN Jul 25 2002
Concert pianist Hayley Elton taught a chimpanzee to play the piano ... so we challenged her to do the same for our Bob
Bob Shields

CONCERT pianist Hayley Elton taught Posh Spice to play the piano in just five minutes.

Her pupils have ranged from old codgers, such as star-gazer Patrick Moore, to toddlers of 18 months.

For a bet, she was once challenged to get a simple tune out of a chimpanzee. She succeeded.

My knowledge of music doesn't amount to much....

She said: "Well, you're better than Timmy the Chimp...."


Evidence of evolution traced interactively
By Joseph Szadkowski

The scientific theory of evolution explores humans' appearance on the planet through the fossilized remains of ancestors that trace development back 4 million years.

An organization looking to present the latest evidence on the study of human origins and paleoanthropology has created a cyber-stop to serve its goal of making these topics easy to understand and more accessible to the general public....

In Building Bones, visitors examine the bone structure of [hu]man vs. [nonhuman] ape to reveal how walking upright became a reality. Players must assemble the skeletons of two creatures by dragging bone remains into either chimpanzee or human spaces. Correct placement reveals a window with information relevant to the bipedal investigation....

Site address: Becoming Human

Wednesday, July 24, 2002


Tetley shows the strain after Tea Folk axed
Julia Day
Wednesday July 24, 2002

If only the people at Tetley had taken notice of the old adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". After axing the Tetley Tea Folk from its ads after 28 years, sales have fallen dramatically....

Tetley's arch-rival PG Tips also axed its long-running chimp campaign for animated ads, but has fared much better from the change....


Jaws of a dilemma
25 July 2002

Debate over the future of Wellington Zoo revolves around the key question of what modern zoos are for: conserving endangered animals, or entertaining the punters, writes Michelle Quirke

...Zoo enthusiast Charles Morris, president of the Wellington Zoological Society, was mesmerised by chimpanzee tea parties as a four-year-old. "I remember they were fun. They used to put little pants and T-shirts on them. They would come out and sit at a little girl's table and pour themselves tea and they would sit there and drink it.

"Invariably young chimps would be carried around in the crowd and you could touch them. The sad thing is, if you put them on today, the public and the kids would adore it, but it causes a lot of problems. It changes the way they behave."

By the late 1970s the tea parties were over. Public opinion on how animals are kept changed faster than zoos were at first able to keep up with. Now, with cages becoming enclosures, the emphasis has moved to conservation and education rather than entertainment.

Zoo manager Alison Lash says Wellington's chimps were reintegrated into the larger social group with considerable success. "However, many zoos around the world have been less successful or less lucky. Chimps, who can live well into their 50s, can still be found in good zoos living unnatural lives because humans' need for entertainment turned them into something they were not."...


Marshall craves real monkey business
By Alistair Osborne, Associate City Editor (Filed: 25/07/2002)

Steve Marshall, the former Railtrack chief executive, yesterday said he was through with running public companies and planned to spend more of his time with chimpanzees.

Mr Marshall, 45, who ran the Railtrack signal box when former Transport Secretary Stephen "Bozo" Byers shunted the company into administration, is looking for a role in animal conservation.

"I'm in research mode," he said. "It's something I've wanted to do for a long time. I'm charging around visiting animal parks in the UK. In November, I'm charging off to Tanzania to see one of the last chimpanzee reserves."...

The US’ NIH Chimpanzee Management Program has added a 4th “R” for chimpanzee experimentation, making it “reduce, refine, replace, and recycle.” Can there be any clearer indication that “retirement” under the CHIMP Act is a sham? The Baroness puts forth the tired “your child or the dog?” argument, ignoring the fact that most people would be willing to sacrifice not only anonymous animals but also human strangers if it would save the life of a loved one. For information on the harm to human health caused by animal experimentation, see Americans for Medical Advancement.


Lords call for changes to animal testing
Polly Curtis
Wednesday July 24, 2002

Experiments on animals are necessary to develop medicine and protect humans and the environment, a House of Lords select committee said today.

However, the all-party group of peers sitting on the select committee on animals in scientific procedures said in a report that more should be done to fund and promote "alternative" methods, which the European Research Commission has promoted as the three Rs - reduction, refinement and replacement....

Baroness Greenfield, director of the Royal Institution, said she was "saddened" the committee had not recommended putting a message on every prescription stating that the medication about to be taken was tested on animals.

"This would draw a clear line between the extremists, who appear not to put a premium on human life, and the vast majority who would value the lives of those closest to them above and beyond experimental animals," she said....


Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, Vol. 99, Issue 15, 10221-10226, July 23, 2002
Anthropology / Economic Sciences
The emergence of humans: The coevolution of intelligence and longevity with intergenerational transfers
Hillard S. Kaplan and Arthur J. Robson

Two striking differences between humans and our closest living relatives, chimpanzees and gorillas, are the size of our brains (larger by a factor of three or four) and our life span (longer by a factor of about two). Our thesis is that these two distinctive features of humans are products of coevolutionary selection....


Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, Vol. 99, Issue 15, 9882-9887, July 23, 2002
Developmental Biology
A 76-kb duplicon maps close to the BCR gene on chromosome 22 and the ABL gene on chromosome 9: Possible involvement in the genesis of the Philadelphia chromosome translocation
Giuseppe Saglio, et al.

...Evolutionary studies using fluorescence in situ hybridization identified the region as a duplicon, which transposed from the region orthologous to human 9q34 to chromosome 22 after the divergence of orangutan from the human-chimpanzee-gorilla common ancestor about 14 million years ago....

Tuesday, July 23, 2002


In alleyways and airports, Nigeria's wildlife traffickers sell off Africa's endangered apes
Tue Jul 23,10:06 PM ET
By GLENN McKENZIE, Associated Press Writer

CALABAR, Nigeria - Milk bottles at the ready, Irene Okon Edem cradles two wide-eyed orphans in her arms while a third hangs precociously on her neck.

"Stop it," the 23-year-old Nigerian gently scolds one of them, named Buster, who then bites his lip and tugs her hair mischievously.

Buster is a chimpanzee, delivered in April to Edem and fellow workers at the Drill Ranch, a private, American-run primate sanctuary in Nigeria, which conservationists say is one of the world's most flagrant illegal markets for Africa's endangered apes.

A woman had bought Buster out of pity, rescuing the baby chimp from smugglers. Other primates have turned up at the Drill Ranch in the eastern Nigerian city of Calabar with cigarette burns or shotgun wounds.

Looking for an illegal, exotic pet? Go no farther than the Musa Yar A'Adua Center, a marble memorial in the capital to honor a past junta figure.

Animal traders set up shop in a scrubby field across the street. Affluent customers choose among endangered apes and other animals captured in the wild, seeking trophies for public and private zoos worldwide....

"Some people say it should be acceptable in Nigeria to hunt these animals to eat or sell, but that was in the past. Now they are disappearing into extinction," Edem tells them.

She admits it is hard to persuade poor people to "love monkeys when they see orphaned children not getting any care."

Bassey, the Nigerian conservation official, says folk tales of hunters battling chimpanzees with makeshift swords have fostered a perception among villagers that primates are "the enemy of humanity."

However, Bassey says, even some hunters change their minds when they see drills or chimpanzees nursing their young, and vow never to hunt the animals again.

"When you see chimp babies at their mothers' breasts, you relate to them as social beings," he says. "Wildlife is not just about jungle life."

On the Net:
Convention on Trade of Endangered Species
United Nations Environment Program Great Apes Survival Project
Nigeria Conservation Foundation

Maybe it's just time to think about drawing the line between "person" and "thing" based on other criteria than genes...


Interview With a Humanoid

DEFOREST, Wis. — In a secret, locked barn near DeForest, five black-and-white calves look up from their hay with huge, friendly eyes. No. 313 approaches, as if to grant an interview, for these are not the ordinary bovines they seem — all five are part human....

These technologies could help the 80,000 Americans now on waiting lists for organ transplants. But there are also ethical and philosophical questions about whether it is wise to blur the distinction between what is human and what is not.

Francis Fukuyama, in his brilliant new book on cloning, "Our Post-Human Future," warns that we could face a future "in which any notion of `shared humanity' is lost, because we have mixed human genes with those of so many other species that we no longer have a clear idea of what a human being is."...

A sad commentary on how some in our society view black humans (with racist contempt) and nonhuman primates (with speciesist contempt).


Monkey chants as black man died 'not racist'
Vikram Dodd
Tuesday July 23, 2002
The Guardian

A tape capturing monkey chants made as a black man lay dead on a police station floor was missed by investigators for nearly four years, it emerged yesterday.
Christopher Alder, 37, died handcuffed and face down in a Hull police station in April 1998 surrounded by police officers, after choking on his own vomit. Sections of the tape show the officers joking and chatting as the former paratrooper died....

In a letter to Ms Alder, the CPS says an expert determined the sounds on the tape to be "chimpanzee or monkey like". It continued: "It is not possible to infer that there was a racist motivation here."

Barrister Peter Herbert, a member of the attorney general's race advisory body, called for a public inquiry.

He said the missed monkey chants were just one example of a bungled case.

"Anybody with any common sense knows monkey noises [are] evidence of racial abuse," he added....


All aboard the sperm train
Most animals exhibit cooperative behaviour, yet the wood mouse takes this to extremes. A new study has revealed that its sperm organise themselves into long 'trains' in order to travel faster and so beat the competition
By Tim Birkhead
22 July 2002

...Female chimpanzees are promiscuous, and if human testicles were the same relative size as the chimps', they would be as big as grapefruits. The male chimp's titanic testicles allow him to copulate frequently and transfer a huge number of sperm each time. Their cousin, the gorilla, lives in a world almost bereft of sperm competition because male aggression keeps sexual competitors at bay. He has tiny testicles. If men's testicles were the same size, they would be the size of broad beans....

Monday, July 22, 2002

The CHimPs commercial uses two young chimpanzees dressed as motorcycle cops. For more information on performing apes, see Dr. Goodall Discusses Realities of Chimps in Advertising and Entertainment.


Consumers find Diet Coke ads flat
Mon Jul 22, 9:13 AM ET
Theresa Howard USA TODAY

...Diet Dr Pepper grew 2.8% in 2001 while regular Dr Pepper dipped 1.7%, according to AC Nielsen data. The company now is promoting diet with new ads that promise authentic Dr Pepper taste. The message: ''Diet Dr Pepper tastes more like the original.'' The ads spoof examples of new ideas inferior to the originals, including XGA (not PGA) Extreme Golf and a TV show CHimPs (rather than CHiPs)....


Intoxicating call of the wild
Tarzan babe... eco-friendly Lara Croft... giggler among the gorillas... just who is BBC nature girl Charlotte Uhlenbroek? ANNE SIMPSON investigates

...And where does Uhlenbroek find her spiritual nourishment? "Out in the wilds. During the last television series we were in some pretty wild places, but only for brief periods so, when filming was over, I took a month's holiday in Gombe just to see the chimps again and it was marvellously calming and replenishing."

Her affinity with these, her favourite of all creatures, was amusingly chronicled in BBC2's Chimpanzee Diary when Uhlenbroek was studying with the distinguished behavioural scientist Jane Goodall. Home then was a hut on the shores of Lake Tanganyika and from there Uhlenbroek would set out to record in detail the "soap opera" antics of chimp existence. In the second series, Cousins, she was jumped on by a 300lb adolescent chimpanzee, an episode she gamely explained as juvenile boisterousness. "In fact, it was a privilege to have been singled out as this young male's punch-bag."

Women comprise 62% of the world directory of primatologists, and 90% of primate sanctuaries are run by women. But Uhlenbroek is impatient with the subversive theory, touted by men, that those women drawn to primate research are suffering from maternal instinct displacement. "I can't agree that the idea of a baby substitute is the principle motivation for anyone in this line of work. The fact is it takes a long, long time to win an animal's confidence in order to observe it, and women are far more patient than men, who tend to want immediate results. But you just have to be prepared to become completely absorbed."...

Talking With Animals by Charlotte Uhlenbroek, based on her BBC1 series. Hodder and Stoughton, £18.99.

Bioqual researcher Joe Erwin is studying captive older chimpanzees as part of the Great Ape Aging Project, which states: "Information on the great apes is especially important with regard to understanding human aging, because apes resemble humans-- genetically, biologically, and psychologically more than any other kind of animal. Because apes are so much like humans, they suffer from many of the same age-related disorders as do humans." Apparently GAAP would disagree with the researcher's statement below that chimpanzees don't get Alzheimer’s disease. The mixed messages of these researchers are common. They say nonhumans are biologically like us, so our diseases can be studied in them - but won't admit that they don't get all of our diseases. They may acknowledge that nonhumans (especially chimpanzees) are like us psychologically - but proceed to disregard their interests, imprison them for life and subject them to useless experimentation. Aren't scientists supposed to be rational and logical?


Monday, July 22, 2002
Cell repository widens sample with primates

...For more than 40 years, the Coriell Institute for Medical Research has been collecting living human cells for use by researchers worldwide. Fifty-five large steel tanks kept at minus 316 degrees Fahrenheit today hold the cells of more than 50,000 people - the majority of them patients who had genetic disorders, from diabetes and cancer to rare illnesses like Lou Gehrig's disease.

Now, Coriell is applying its expertise in the growing, freezing and thawing of human cells to chimpanzees, gorillas, baboons and other nonhuman primates....

Primate cells and their genetic material are useful to researchers in a range of fields, from primate evolution to biomedical research.

The creation of the new cell collection reflects a growing scientific interest in the comparative genetic makeup of humans and apes - whose related genes are 95 percent to 98 percent similar.

Applying knowledge of primates to biomedical research, scientists hope to learn more about our genetic heritage and the causes of genetic disorders. They want to know why chimpanzees, for instance, do not appear to develop Alzheimer's disease, and why common cancers such as breast, lung and prostate cause so many deaths in humans but kill only a tiny percentage of nonhuman primates.

"We are very closely related to these individuals," said Jeanne C. Beck, deputy director of the Coriell Cell Repositories and a principal investigator in the primate project. "Clearly what makes us human, what differentiates us from the apes, to me that's a very interesting question."

Coriell and four other institutions, including the Zoological Society of San Diego and Princeton University, have received a five-year, $3.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation to establish the new repository. It is called the Integrated Primate Biomaterials and Information Resource....

Another cruel and useless chimpanzee behavioral study is being performed by University of Louisiana researcher Daniel Povinelli.


Beware collective judgment

...To gain an understanding of just what is collective judgment, we often use an experiment that was done with chimps. Five were placed in an enclosure and allowed to become hungry as a group.

Then a banana was placed in the upper corner of the cage. Of course, all the chimps raced to get control of the food. As the banana was about to be taken, the entire group was doused with freezing cold water.

They learned to back away from the food very quickly. This same sequence happened a number of times. Then, one of the chimps was replaced leaving four originals in place.

When the new chimp saw the food, it raced to get it only to be roundly blocked and punished by the other chimps.

He learned to stay back and cower in the corner with the others when food was placed in the cage.

Over several occurrences, the original chimps were replaced one by one until none of the original animals were present in the enclosure.

Therefore, none of them had any experience with the cold water that the originals learned to avoid. Yet, all five of the new chimps learned to behave the same way as the originals when food was introduced.

These new chimps were now behaving in way that was not caused by the same experience as the original group.

They had formed a collective judgment that the food would lead to problems but had no basis for their judgment except for the actions of their peers.

That is exactly what collective judgment is about in organizations....


Science gets a dose of culture shock
As a pioneering Japanese study on chimpanzees showed, how we approach science is not free from our cultural perspective, says FRANS DE WAAL

MOST people now accept that fields like politics and journalism reflect and perpetuate cultural bias. Yet we imagine science as free of unexamined cultural assumptions....

In 1958, when Mr Imanishi and his students toured the US to report their findings, they were ridiculed for humanising their subjects and for believing that they could distinguish between all those apes.

The Western view of apes regarded them as akin to Rousseau's 'noble savage' - autonomous individuals, devoid of social ties and obligations, driven by instinct to swing haphazardly from one fruit tree to the next.

But while Jane Goodall was describing female chimpanzees and their dependent offspring as the only socially bonded units in the primate world, a Japanese team, working only 130 km away, proved eventually that chimpanzees live in large communities with stable memberships.

We now know that chimpanzee society is male-bonded, and there is ample evidence of territorial warfare between communities.

The initial discovery arose from the assumption that chimpanzees, so close in evolution to humans, could not be as 'individualistic' as Western science supposed.

The same initial assumption led Mr Imanishi in 1952 to suggest that animals might have culture, which he reduced to its lowest common denominator: the social rather than genetic transmission of behaviour.....

(Frans de Waal is a professor of psychology and director of the Living Links Center at Emory University. Copyright: Project Syndicate)

For more information on zoos, see The Reality of Zoos and Zoo Myths.


Monkey business
22. juli 2002

Five West African chimpanzees have apparently bypassed harsh immigration restrictions and been granted 'asylum' at Copenhagen Zoo. The five were rescued due to a Dutch ban on AIDS research using chimps, and are now free to swing from tree to tree in the city zoo where they will hopefully reproduce and re-establish what is becoming a dying species. According to a zoo spokesman, there are only 10-20,000 West African chimpanzees left, and they are currently being slaughtered at an alarming rate.

Sunday, July 21, 2002

This newspaper did not do its homework. "Sterling & Reid Bros. Circus has failed to meet minimal federal standards for the care of animals used in exhibition as established in the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has cited Sterling & Reid for failure to provide veterinary care, shelter from the elements, cages that meet minimum space requirements, and sound fencing that protects both spectators and the animals, as well as for giving animals feces-contaminated food and water." Read on here. Pamela Rosaire, visiting her circus daughter, "owns" a troop of young chimpanzees who are forced to wear cowboy outfits and perform stunts on the back of a pony in the Rosaire-Zoppe Chimpanzee Show. She once boasted to a TV reporter that she breast-fed one of the infant chimpanzees (whom she stole from his real mother).


Posted on Sat, Jul. 20, 2002
Circus pets well cared for, loved by their owners
Sterling & Reid workers tell the inside story of pets' lives
Connie Bloom
Beacon Journal

You know a doting mother when you see one, even if she is a he, and even if he is in the circus.

Brian Staples certainly qualifies. He is the 30-year-old ringmaster of the Sarasota, Fla.-based Sterling & Reid Bros. Circus and proud mama to five monkeys. "They're my kids," he said....

"We go to the extreme on animal husbandry,'' he said, contrary to the negative images projected by animal extremists, who force circuses to go on the defensive. That said, he defends this one eloquently....

Two dark eyes and a hairy head peered mischievously through a cage in a trailer next to Staples'. Newton, the chimpanzee, was visiting with his mom, Pamela Rosaire, who came to see her daughter, Dallas Zoppe, who has a dog act in the circus.

Newton made best friends with the smallest monkey in the circus, Chase, the monkey I was holding. "If only I were that handsome,'' said his doting mama.

Connie Bloom is a columnist for the Akron Beacon Journal. You can reach her at, or 330-996-3568.

Saturday, July 20, 2002


Disco fire kills 25
From the International Desk
Published 7/20/2002 7:53 PM

LIMA, Peru, July 20 (UPI) -- An early morning fire Saturday at the unlicensed Utopia disco in the Jockey Seat commercial section of the Furrow district in the Peruvian capital killed at least 25 people and injured some 100 others, authorities said....

El Comercio said the fire occurred when a disc jockeys set a fire during a performance that included a lion, tiger and chimpanzee, which were killed. The fire jumped to surrounding curtains and quickly spread out of control....

I wonder how many chimpanzee vivisectors pursuing mad science have fudged results to keep the grant money flowing?


Science labs, too, 'cooking the books'
Fraud charges against several prominent scientists have sparked inquiries and new ethics rules.
from the July 19, 2002 edition
By Peter N. Spotts, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

For more than 75 years, Bell Labs has been a scientific Camelot.
Its scientists and engineers invented the transistor and the laser. They were the first to hear the faint echoes from the Big Bang. In all, work at the Murray Hill, N.J., facility has earned six Nobel Prizes.

Now, however, an independent team of scientists is investigating whether one of the center's brightest stars, Jan Hendrick Schön, fabricated results in what many considered to be groundbreaking experiments.

His case is one of several that have come to light recently, shining a harsh light on one of the darker sides of science – fudged research results. While recent attention has focused on the ethics of business executives, similar concerns have surfaced in the scientific community, with potentially far-reach implications of their own.

At best, "cooking notebooks" can send other scientists down experimental dead ends, wasting time and precious research money. At worst, scientific misconduct has the potential to foster poorly designed environmental rules or public-health regulations. In the case of biomedical research, misconduct could cost lives....


Men, Women from Same Planet When Looking for Mate
Fri Jul 19, 2:25 PM ET
By Melissa Schorr

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Are men programmed by evolution to be roving-eyed Casanovas, while women have evolved to be faithful Penelopes? In fact, a team of California psychologists argues that there is scant evidence that men and women have evolved vastly different mating styles....

The new report, published in the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science, cites previous research finding that primates who rely on short-term mating strategies have physical characteristics meant to enhance their chances with the opposite sex--characteristics not found in humans.

For example, chimpanzees, who frequently partake in short-term couplings, have more than twice the ratio of testicle size to body size than humans do. Researchers theorize this is a result of needing to produce a higher volume of sperm to beat out competitors. Chimps also produce substances that block competitors' sperm, unlike humans.

"In terms of reproduction, we don't see these mechanisms in humans," Miller noted. "There's no biology we can point to that says there is evidence for short-term mating, and there's a lot that suggests not." ...

SOURCE: Current Directions in Psychological Science 2002;11:88-93.

Thursday, July 18, 2002


Virtuous nature
New Scientist vol 175 issue 2351 - 13July2002, page 34

Chimps show signs of embarrassment, whales and ravens fall in love. But can animals really have a sense of right and wrong? Marc Bekoff thinks they do

IF YOU think that we are the only creatures on Earth with a moral sense, then you're in good company. Most experts in behaviour believe that morality is a uniquely human trait, without which our complex social life would never have emerged. I disagree. Accuse me of anthropomorphising if you like, but I'm convinced that many animals can distinguish right from wrong. Decades spent watching wild and captive animals have persuaded me that species living in groups often have a sense of fair play built on moral codes of conduct that help cement their social relationships. Nature isn't always ruthlessly and selfishly competitive.

That's not all. I suspect that herein lies the origin of our own virtue. Biologists have had real problems trying to explain why humans are frequently inexplicably nice to each other. It just doesn't make sense in evolutionary terms, unless there are ulterior motives behind our seemingly altruistic actions. Perhaps we expect a payback somewhere down the line, or maybe our good deeds are directed only towards kin, with whom we share genes and hence a biological heritage. Nobody has really considered the possibility that being considerate to your neighbours might sometimes be the best way to survive. But I'm starting to find evidence that a well-developed sense of fair play helps non-human animals live longer, more successful lives. In other words, virtue is it's own reward-fairer is fitter.

It's an understatement to say that looking for the roots of morality in animals is very difficult, but at least we can start to break the problem down. The first question to answer is, are animals capable of the empathy and feelings that underlie morality? We know that in humans the neural basis for these feelings lie in the brain's amygdalae and hypothalamus, and they are mediated by neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin. We also know that many animals, especially mammals, possess the same neurological structures and brain chemicals as we do. Of course, this doesn't necessarily mean they share our feelings, but careful observation of animals in action suggests that at least some of them do.

Recent overviews of research by Stephanie Preston and Frans de Waal from the Yerkes Primate Center in Atlanta and Stanley Kuczaj's group at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg show that empathy is more widespread among animals than science has so far been willing to recognise. They point to research that suggests non-human primates, dolphins, whales, elephants and hippopotamuses, and even some rodents, behave in ways that support the claim that empathy has deep evolutionary roots.

In one classic study published in 1964, Stanley Wechlin and his team at the Northwestern University Medical School in Illinois showed that a hungry rhesus monkey would not take food if doing so meant another monkey got an electric shock. In similar situations rats will also hold back when they know their actions would cause pain to another individual.

Then there's the study published two decades ago by Hal Markowitz from San Francisco State University. He reported that after training Diana monkeys to insert a token into a slot to get food, he observed a male helping the oldest female who had failed to learn the task. On three occasions the male picked up the tokens she had dropped, put them into the machine, and allowed her to have the food.

We'll probably never know whether these rats and monkeys were feeling empathy as we do. But what we can do is start comparing what's going on in animal brains with what happens in our own. Neuroimaging techniques such as PET scans and functional MRI are starting to shed new light on human emotions, and I hope that it won't be long before we start doing similar studies with non-human primates and other animals.

In the meantime, watching animals in action has convinced many researchers, myself included, that they possess the emotions upon which a moral sense is built. Chimps and monkeys, for example, seem to feel embarrassment, whales and ravens show signs of falling in love, and even iguanas register pleasure (New Scientist, 29 April 2000, p 32). In my own research I have taken this one step further-looking for evidence of fair behaviour. I'm particularly interested in social play-the joyful rough and tumble common to many mammals, especially youngsters-because it has its own special rules of engagement, allowing participants to reinterpret acts that might otherwise seem aggressive or sexual. The fact that play rarely escalates into all-out fighting is a strong indication that animals do indeed abide by the rules and that they expect others to do likewise.

My studies of infant dogs, wolves and coyotes based on careful observation and analysis of video playbacks reveal that they use a special signal to prevent misinterpretation of playful actions. They perform a "bow"-which entails crouching on the forelimbs while keeping the rear upright-when initiating play, or in association with aggressive actions such as biting, to modify their meaning. I've also found that players often use self-imposed handicaps to limit the force they use against a weaker playmate when body slamming or biting. And role reversal is common, so that during play a dominant animal will often allow a subordinate to have the upper hand. Such behaviours reduce inequalities in size, strength and dominance between playmates, fostering the cooperation and reciprocity that are essential for play to occur. Indeed, on the rare occasions when a canid says "let's play" and then beats up an unsuspecting animal, the cheat usually find itself ostracised by its erstwhile playmates.

Similar cooperative behaviour has been found in many animals at play. For example, Sergio Pellis from the University of Lethbridge in Alberta found that rats will constantly monitor and fine-tune their behaviour to keep play going. But while there has been much talk about animal cooperation, no one has considered the role that social play may have had in the evolution of morality. Yet what could be a better atmosphere in which to learn the rights and wrongs of social interaction-the moral norms that can then be extended to other situations such as sharing food, defending resources, grooming and giving care?

My belief is that a sense of fairness is common to many animals, because there could be no social play without it, and without social play individual animals and entire groups would be at a disadvantage. If I'm right, morality evolved because it is adaptive. It helps many animals, including humans, to survive and flourish in their particular social environment. This may sound like a radical idea, particularly if you view morality as uniquely human and a sort of mystical quality that sets us apart from other animals. But if you accept my argument that play and fairness are inextricably linked, you're half way there. The challenge then is to show that individual animals benefit from these behaviours.

It's hardly radical these days to suggest that play is essential food for the brain. Recent research shows that the more animals play, the bigger their brains grow (New Scientist, 9 June 2001, p 28). Social play seems to rewire the brain, increasing connections between neurones in the cortex. It hones an individual's cognitive skills, including logical reasoning, learning and behavioural flexibility. And it helps perfect survival skills such as hunting and mating, which will be essential in later life. Quantifying these benefits of play is extraordinarily difficult, but the more we learn about the way play affects the brain the more apparent it becomes that the activity is far from idle time-wasting.

My own fieldwork has uncovered one of the penalties paid by animals that fail to engage fully in play. I've found that coyote pups who don't play much are less tightly bonded to other members of their group and are more likely to strike out on their own. And life outside the group is much more risky than within it. In my seven-year study of coyotes living in the Grand Teton National Park outside Moose, Wyoming, I found that about 60 per cent of the yearlings who drifted away from their social group died, whereas fewer than 20 per cent of their stay-at-home peers did. I'm sure that close scrutiny of other social animals will reveal more evidence that having a sense of fairness benefits individuals.

More controversially, I also believe that a moral sense may benefit groups as a whole. That's because group members learn rules of engagement during social play that influence their decisions about what is acceptable behaviour when dealing with each other. Recent research by Kyoko Okamoto and Shuichi Matsumura at Kyoto University suggests that we are not the only primates to use punishment and apology to help reinforce the rules of social engagement. And sticking to the rules is essential if individuals are to work in harmony to create a successful group that can outcompete other groups. My observations of coyotes confirm that members of a pack who work together are more successful at driving off intruders than are single individuals, and I'm sure that if other researchers looked they would find similar evidence for the benefits of group living in other animals.

I'm not arguing that there is a gene for fair or moral behaviour. As with any behavioural trait, the underlying genetics is bound to be complex, and environmental influences may be large. No matter. Provided there is variation in levels of morality among individuals, and provided virtue is rewarded by a greater number of offspring, then any genes associated with good behaviour are likely to accumulate in subsequent generations. And the observation that play is rarely unfair or uncooperative is surely an indication that natural selection acts to weed out those who don't play by the rules.

What does all this tell us about human morality? First, we didn't invent virtue- its origins are much more ancient than our own. Secondly, we should stop seeing ourselves as morally superior to other animals. True, our big brains endow us with a highly sophisticated sense of what's right and wrong, but they also give us much greater scope for manipulating others-to cheat and deceive and try to benefit from immoral behaviour. In that sense, animal morality might be "purer" than our own.

We should accept our moral responsibility towards other animals, and that means developing and enforcing more restrictive regulations governing animal use. There is growing evidence that while animal minds vary from one species to another, they are not so different from our own, and only when we accept this can we be truly moral in our relations with other creatures and with nature as a whole.

Marc Bekoff


Marc Bekoff teaches biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He and Jane Goodall recently founded Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. His latest book, Minding Animals (Oxford University Press), was published in Britain this month.

"The evolution of punishment and apology" by Kyoko Okamoto and Shuichi Matsumura, Evolutionary Ecology, vol 14, p 703 (2001) "Empathy: Its ultimate and proximate bases" by Stephanie Preston and Frans de Waal, Behavioral and Brain Sciences (in press)