From Atlanta comes truly startling news: a
Chimpanzee and an Orangutan have been taught to speak. They are using
a keyboard device similar to what Steven Hawkings uses, but in addition, the
Chimpanzee is actually speaking English words. They are distorted, to be sure,
but the scientists say they are understandable. The Chimpanzee has also taken to
writing words on the floor with chalk. Additionally, she is teaching her baby
language skills - and he may be young enough for it to make a difference.
This is, it seems to us, a seminal event and likely changes a lot of
things. For one, language is being passed from one generation of
Chimpanzees to another. For another, for the first time, another species
may soon be able to discuss issues which are of importance to them. We may
not like what they say about us!
Panbanisha has the language skills of a four year old. That's a fair
amount actually. We'll be fascinated to see how far this goes, and what the apes
say when they are more fluent and more inclined to speak their minds.