Animalarky: B is for Bonobo

Linguist Steve Pinker visits Kanzi, a bonobo who invites him to play with her. Personally. Meaning she doesn’t ask for permission to play, ho no, my friend.  She communicates with Steve directly.

I can’t believe I just talked to a Bonobo. A bonobo talked to me and invited me to play.”

Kanzi’s principal caretaker Sue Savage-Rumbaugh (can’t help but think of good old Rushy Limbaugh at the read of that name) touches upon something I’ve been giving a lot of thought to lately, something spurred on by reading “Cats Cradle” by Kurt Vonnegut and hearing a recent news report on NPR.

“It’s very easy for us to want shut up our relationship [with animals] and think we’re extraordinarily different.

Scientists and researchers make it their job to discover new wonders about the world around us, but there are also some who make it their job to debunk and demystify those findings. What is wrong with people. Why would you EVER make that your job? Before I get off on a tangent… I implore you to watch the video. It gave me nice, squirmy feelings inside — the kind you get before you’re about to cry (but you know you won’t).

We are different, but we are also very similar… I think research like this is one of the cornerstones of life. How amazing is it when you find someone so refreshingly different from you yet they are also someone you click so well with? It’s one of the best things about this world, learning about someone [or something] else’s abilities and quirks and, at the same time, discovering your own capacity.

I especially like Sue’s unkempt gray bob. It reminds me vaguely of Peppermint Pattie, without the lesbo implications and the coke bottle glasses. That and her experssion calls to mind the little girl from childhood who was a natural born explorer and so in touch with nature. As much as it is speculation, I love seeing someone turn what they enjoyed in adolescence into a reputable career. Man I hope there aren’t kids out there playing “office” … the thought gives me an ulcer.

2 comments on “Animalarky: B is for Bonobo”

  1. That’s not Steve Pinker on the video, it’s Danny Wallace. Steve Pinker disagrees with Savage-Rumbaugh in every possible way.

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