Special Sub-Topic: Chimp Off the Old Block
|Snowflake the gorilla was the most famous resident of the Barcelona Zoo. His children and grandchildren aren't anything like him in appearance though. What made Snowflake so unique?|
He was the only known albino gorilla in the world. Snowflake was born in 1964 in Equatorial Guinea and captured by an ethnic farmer. His entire troop was slaughtered, but he was spared for his rarity. He was later sold to a man who worked for the Barcelona Zoo. Lovingly raised by a veterinarian and his wife for a short time, they eventually had to give him up when he grew larger. The Barcelona Zoo became his new home where he was adored by visitors from all over the world. During his time at the zoo, he fathered 21 children (6 lived until adulthood), and 10 grandchildren. He did not pass on his albinism to any of his descendants. He remained at the zoo until his death in 2003 from skin cancer.
|Titan the chimpanzee is aggressive, just like his father Frodo. Both live in Tanzania's Gombe Stream Chimpanzee Reserve. In fact, Frodo was a bully during his reign as alpha male. He is famous for his brutal attacks on cartoonist Gary Larson and researcher Jane Goodall, who nearly broke her neck. What tops as his most horrific act?|
Killing and eating a human baby. In May, 2002, Frodo lethally attacked a park attendant's 14-month old daughter and ate part of her body. The Tanzanian National Parks Department considered euthanizing Frodo, but the Gombe research team deemed the act within normal hunting behaviour of chimpanzees in the wild. Furthermore, children under 12 were prohibited from visiting the park.
Frodo, part of the "F" family of chimpanzees studied at the Gombe Reserve, grew to be the largest chimp studied in the project. His size and violent nature helped him rise quickly through the male dominance hierarchy. Because of his bullying tactics, he remained unpopular with both the researchers and his troop mates. His dominance as alpha male ended when an illness left him too weak to defend himself.
|In the 2008 animated movie "Space Chimps", an astrochimp named Ham III follows in the footsteps of his grandfather, Ham. The character of Ham is based on a chimpanzee in real life named Ham who, on January 31st, 1961, made history by being what?|
The first hominid in space. Ham was born in July, 1956 in Cameroon. He was captured by animal trappers and sent to Florida where he was then purchased by the United States Air Force.
Specially selected out of 40 candidates, 2-year-old Ham was one of six astrochimps trained for space travel. He was named after the Holloman Aerospace Medical Centre, where he was trained. He would become the test pilot to determine if humans could survive space flight. On January 31, 1961, 44-month-old Ham was strapped onboard the capsule MR-2 and launched from Cape Canaveral on a sub-orbital flight. During the flight he successfully performed several operations, proving that it was possible to function normally under the stress of space travel.
Errors in the launching had the rocket reach a speed of 9426 km/h instead of 7081 km/h as planned. This resulted in a larger apogee (68 km higher) with Ham experiencing a longer time weightless (6.6 minutes instead of 4.7 minutes), and a greater re-entry force of 14.7g (3g higher than originally expected). Ham's flight reached 253 km above earth and lasted 16 minutes and 39 seconds. The landing of the capsule was off-target, causing a 3 hour delay in his rescue. In addition, the capsule had capsized and was leaking seawater. Ham survived with the protection of his space suit, his only injury being a bruised nose.
After the success of his mission Ham became a celebrity and appeared on television and in a movie with Evil Knievel. The sad reality, though, was his 17 years spent alone at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. He was later moved to the North Carolina Zoo in 1980 where he had contact with other chimpanzees. He died on January 19, 1983 at the age of 26. He has no known descendants.
|Lucky for researchers at Georgia State University, Kanzi, a bonobo, was not a chip off his mother. Language experiments failed with Matata, but unbeknownst to scientists her infant son, present in the lab with her, absorbed the lessons without any training. Today Kanzi is recognized for what achievement? |
Having the highest aptitude for language of any non-human ape. Kanzi was born on October 28, 1980 at the Yerkes National Regional Primate Center in Atlanta, Georgia and remained there until 2005 when he was moved to the Great Ape Trust in Iowa. Under the direction of primatologist Sue Savage-Rimbaugh, Kanzi became the first of his species to acquire language by being exposed to it at an early age. Kanzi communicates primarily through lexigrams (geometric symbols denoting words) with the use of a keyboard or chart. He also uses gestures and a few signs from American sign language.
Kanzi is also the first ape to show receptive competence of spoken English, with a vocabulary of over 3000 words. Savage-Rimbaugh worked hard to demonstrate to critics that Kanzi was not just responding to cues, but in fact, understanding grammatically complex sentences.
Kanzi's successful language acquisition is attributed to a learning environment similar to human children: early exposure while the brain is developing and using methods of learning based on his surroundings and activities, rather than through rewards.
Even more intriguing to scientists is the birth of Kanzi's first child, a son named Teco, born on June 1st, 2010. This third-generation bonobo is already developing in new and exciting ways from his unique exposure to both human and bonobo caretakers. Stay tuned!
* a bonobo, Pan paniscus, is one of two species of chimpanzees, the other being the common chimpanzee, Pan troglodytes.
|This chimpanzee tried to be a chip off the old block; his adoptive father actually taught him to moon-walk. What was the name of Michael Jackson's famous pet chimpanzee? |
Bubbles. Bubbles was born in 1983 in Austin, Texas at a biomedical research laboratory. Jackson adopted him and raised him in his home like a human child. Bubbles would attend events with Jackson as a guest, and even went on tour with him to Japan in 1987. He appeared on television, in movies and in music videos before retiring at the age of 7. When he grew older and became more aggressive, Jackson sent him to an animal sanctuary in California, for fear of his newborn son's safety. Bubbles lived there until 2005 until its closure had him relocated to the Centre for Great Apes in Florida.
|Answers to questions about Oliver's origin have eluded scientists for decades. Are there other chimpanzees like him? He was brought over from Western Africa to the United States in 1960 and by the mid 1970s began to make headlines around the globe for his unusual appearance and behaviour. The media billed this bipedal chimp as an evolutionary missing link. What nickname was he given that was also the title of a documentary made about him?|
Humanzee. ----- History -----
His name is Oliver, but he was dubbed the "Humanzee" by the media when he shot to fame in 1976. Oliver came from Gabon to New Jersey when he was about 2 years old and went to live with a couple of animal trainers. He was noticeably different from other chimpanzees from the start. He walked upright all the time with straight legs, instead of using his arms and knuckle-walking like most chimps. His head was smaller and rounder, his face flatter, his jaw less pronounced and his pointed ears were up higher on his head. Even his scent was different. He was also never socially accepted by other chimpanzees; he preferred the company of humans. In some ways he seemed more human: he voluntarily helped with chores without being rewarded, enjoyed drinking a cup of coffee, and showed more emotion and understanding than the rest of his species.
Unfortunately he was given up by the trainers when he reached adolescence, and was later exploited and mistreated as he bounced from one handler to another. At one point he spent 7 years locked in a small cage at a medical testing facility. In 1996 he was moved to an animal sanctuary in Texas called Primarily Primates. Efforts made to integrate him with the other chimpanzees failed, but eventually he found company with a gentle female. He has no descendants. As of 2010 Oliver remains at Primarily Primates which is undergoing new management and renovations.
When DNA tests were completed on Oliver in 1996 it was discovered that he was, indeed, a common chimpanzee and not a human/chimp hybrid as some thought. However, there was a sequence of his DNA that was clearly different from that of the control chimp. Scientists believe this difference is what makes him morphologically and physically different from other chimps. But the question remains, is he a mutant chimp or is he an unknown subspecies?
|Peggy, a 5-year-old chimpanzee actor, starred in a 1951 movie with Ronald Reagan. In the movie, Reagan plays a psychologist who tries to teach a chimp right from wrong. In doing so, he hopes to prove a "nature vs. nurture" debate -- that behaviour is learned. What is the name of this light-hearted movie?|
Bedtime For Bonzo. Peggy was a female chimpanzee born in Liberia in 1945, and brought to The World Jungle Compound in California. She was trained by Henry Tyndall, and starred as Tamba in the movie "Jungle Jim" with Johnny Weissmuller. She also starred on TV as herself in the variety show "The Colgate Comedy Hour". She is most famous for her role as Bonzo, in the movie "Bedtime For Bonzo". Not long after the release of "Bedtime For Bonzo" tragedy struck The World Jungle Compound. A fire broke out killing all resident chimps. Peggy died in 1951 from smoke inhalation at the age of 6 years.
|Chantek is another one-of-a-kind ape. At the age of 9-months he was taught sign language by anthropologist Lyn Miles. He eventually learned to use over 150 signs and understands about 1000 English words. What kind of ape is this Bornean/Sumatran hybrid?|
Orangutan. Chantek was born on December 17, 1977 at the Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Lyn Miles taught him sign language starting in infancy and raised him in her home on the campus of the University of Tennessee Chattanooga. By treating him like a human child, she hoped to give his communication skills cultural reference. At the age of 9, too large to handle anymore, she relinquished him back to the Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center, where she was allowed limited contact with him. In 1997 he was transferred to a special area of the Zoo Atlanta in Georgia and Miles was able to visit him regularly again.
Chantek made history as the first orangutan to do a live Web chat. He has also proven, like bonobo Kanzi, that he is not simply responding to stimuli. Miles states that he initiates up to 60% of communication and, like humans, will lie or do things to spare the feelings of others.
Chantek is also part of a cognitive-skills program at the Zoo Atlanta. He is the only known cross of a Bornean and Sumatran orangutan. As of 2010, he has no offspring.
|In an eerie coincidence, Travis the chimpanzee met the same fate as his birth mother. On February 16th, 2009 his fiendish attack on Charla Nash, a friend of his owner, made international news. What was the outcome of the attack on Nash?|
She survived the attack but lost both hands and her face. Travis was born in 1995 at the Missouri Chimpanzee Sanctuary. He was adopted as a newborn by Jerome and Sandra Herold. In April 2001, his mother, Suzy, was shot and killed after she escaped from the sanctuary.
The Herolds raised Travis like a human child in their home in Stamford, Connecticut. He was a constant companion to them and considered a socialized chimp. He even appeared in Coke and Old Navy television commercials. However, as he got older there were signs he was getting harder to manage. An incident in 2003 required police intervention when he escaped from the Herold's car at an intersection.
Travis became an even closer companion for Sandra after the deaths of both her son and husband. The 70-year-old took sole care of Travis until he found the house keys and escaped outside of the home. She enlisted the help of a friend, Charla Nash, to help her lure Travis back into the house. As Nash approached Travis with a stuffed animal held up to her face, he savagely attacked her by gouging her eyes, biting her ears, nose, mouth and jaw off and chewing off both her hands. Horrified, Sandra beat him with a shovel and stabbed him with a kitchen knife in efforts to stop the mauling. She called 911; when the police arrived they shot and killed Travis. He was 13.5 years old. At the time Travis was being treated for Lyme Disease, but the mystery remains on why he attacked Nash.
Charla Nash survived the attack but is severely disfigured. She continues to learn skills required for independent living and is to undergo more reconstructive surgery.
Sandra Herold died on May 24th, 2010 from a ruptured aortic aneurysm.
|This gorilla was taught sign language by her "mom", psychologist Francine Patterson, and is part of the longest continuous inter-species communications project of its kind in the world. What is the name of this gorilla, who uses 1000 signs and understands 2000 words of the English language?|
Koko. Koko is a Western Lowland Gorilla who was born at the San Francisco Zoo on July 4th, 1971. She has lived most of her life at The Gorilla Foundation in mountainous Woodside, California. When she was a year old, psychology graduate Francine "Penny" Patterson began to teach her American sign language. She was curious to see if another species could communicate with humans. What began as a short-term project has become life-long research.
Prior to Patterson's work with Koko, little was known about gorilla intelligence. It was surprising for researchers to witness how quickly she grasped sign language and how she was able to express complex feelings in a way that humans could understand. She cried when her first pet kitten died, asked for dental surgery when her tooth pain became too great, and has expressed longing for a baby. Unfortunately, breeding only happens in more natural environments, and within normal social dynamics of a gorilla troop -- two things that are not available for Koko. Hopes of mating her with her male companions have been unsuccessful. In her continued work with Koko, Patterson hopes to one day build a gorilla sanctuary in Hawaii for Koko and other gorillas. As of 2010, she is still fund raising for the project.
In 1976 Patterson founded The Gorilla Foundation with the mission: "To bring interspecies communication to the public, in order to save gorillas from extinction, and inspire our children to create a sustainable future for all great apes."
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