Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Planet of the Apes

Santino, a captive chimpanzee, stockpiles rocks to throw at humans who laugh at him at the zoo.

This was a big enough deal to advance the career of Mathias Osvath, who has studied Santino and concluded that Santino has foresight. If Santino's aim was a little better, maybe Santino's "human" characteristic would have been recognized earlier.

Santino spends his days held captive in a zoo near Stockholm. Stockholm is a long way from equatorial Africa.

In late December, there are only about 6 hours of sunlight in Stockholm, about half the length it would be at home. It's also a bit colder in Stockholm than Tanzania.

Santino never throws rocks at other chimpanzees. Only at humans. Santino is one pissed-off primate. (OK, Santino did kill a rival male chimp back in the day, but managed to avoid jail time.)

Don't you love human interest stories? Human knowledge advances, Osvath is one step closer to a professorship, and we get to laugh at our cousins.

And Santino?
He was castrated in an attempt to calm him down a bit. Chimps who toss rocks put their own at risk.

Puts a new spin on the word "humane."

Photo from The Guardian.

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