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