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.

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."
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.

"Visitors are allowed, but they must understand that the Great Ape Trust is not a zoo, she said.

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."
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.


  1. I too have always entertained doubts about Dr. Savage-Rumbaugh's name. Perhaps you should maintain a list of dubious double-barrelled names.

  2. That's a great idea, sort of a watch list. Though Dr. Savage Rumbaugh is a great name for a mad scientist.

    This experiment should answer some of mankinds oldest questions. For example, in the event an ape can learn to cook, what dishes will he choose to prepare? Fried bananas, most would say. I'm not so sure.

  3. You know, sorry to burst into your nice bubble, but apes ARE intelligent.

    Sure, no ape will ever be able to write Shakespeare stuff. But most of them are intelligent enough to learn how to cook, and to open a door using a doorbell. In San Diego a gorilla learned how to sign and talked to her vets like that for ten years. And yes, I used her, because she was a conscious of herself as you and I.

    Freud and Lacan defined a stage in humanity that is called the "mirror stage", when, as child you discover that it is you in the mirror, and not some guy looking like you. This stage is an important self in being conscious of ones identity. It is also recognized as being a signe of superior intelligence, self-awareness and consciousness. Only five or six species have passed this "mirror stage" so far: the pigs (they are-surprisingly enough-very clever creatures), the apes, the dolphins, the humans, the elephants and a couple of sea lions, but nobody is sure that they can do that as a species, because it has never been observed for the whole kind.

    Language is another form of intelligence long tagged as only human. While apes cannot obviously talk as human can do, because their throat is not constructed in the same way as ours, they are perfectly capable of learning our language, and have their own, with words, grammar, and also dialects. Dolphins and whales also communicates using complicated sound modulations that can be heard undersea kilometers away. Research have proven that each group has his own modulation. The most developed language we know of are those used by the killer-whales (who are actually no whales but dolphins), and the bottlenose dolphin(you know, the cute lil' Flipper-actually one of the most agressive dolphins in the world, beside the killer-whale that is).

    Other people, who are not optimists like you seem to be, might also argue that those animals don't know a thing about violence, and that therefore cannot be considered aware beings. Usually that is followed by the BS saying how superior those creatures of God are, because they know no-violence. Well, dolphins can rape, apes murder for no good reason. They are as intelligent and perverted as we are. Only less arrogant than us.

  4. Oops, sorry got some typos...Went to bed too late yesterday.

    Well, you get the meaning...


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