Ape Real World
"Dr. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh sounds like a proud mother when she speaks about her brood of bonobos, eight ultra-intelligent apes that will take part in unique language research meant to shed light on their nature and maybe our own.In this age of progress, separating science fact from science fiction isn’t always easy, and I may be overly skeptical, but doesn’t this story (which made me think of Kafka’s A Report to an Academy) have the smell of a hoax? Savage-Rumbaugh sounds like a made up name, and since when do apes eat cooked food - let alone food they’ve cooked themselves? If this is a true story, and the experiment is a success, Ms. Savage-Rumbaugh will have achieved in instilling more civility, culture, and manners into apes than most of our nation’s parents are able to instill into their own children. I can foresee Ms. Savage-Rumbaugh’s results revolutionizing modern high school pedagogy. Let’s hope the education establishment is watching.
The first two bonobos will make the 16-hour road trip from the Language Research Center at Georgia State University to their new $10 million, 13,000-square-foot home near downtown Des Moines later this month. All eight -- three females and five males -- will arrive at the Great Ape Trust of Iowa by mid-May.
Bonobos, a species of ape from the Congo, are the most like humans, Savage-Rumbaugh said. They constantly vocalize "as though they are conversing" and often walk upright.
"If you want to find a human-like creature that exists in a completely natural state ... that creature is the bonobo," said Savage-Rumbaugh, an experimental psychologist who is one of the world's leading ape-language researchers.
If the apes are able to learn language, music and art, once thought to be distinct to humans, then "it strongly suggests that those things are not innate in us," she said.
The bonobos will be able to cook in their own kitchen, tap vending machines for snacks, go for walks in the woods and communicate with researchers through computer touchscreens. The decor in their 18-room home includes an indoor waterfall and climbing areas 30 feet high."
"Visitors are allowed, but they must understand that the Great Ape Trust is not a zoo, she said.I wonder if they will be allowed to smoke? I'll find out when I pay these friendly apes a visit. I'm sure if they see me ringing their doorbell they won't hesitate to let me in, especially if I'm carrying cigars and a bottle.
Using a network of cameras and computers, the bonobos can see visitors who ring the doorbell -- and will be able to choose through a computer touchscreen who will be permitted into a secured viewing area."