Tuesday, June 25, 2013

More Chimpanzee Grief

Pansy dies:
When the scientists at the park realized Pansy’s death was imminent, they turned on video cameras, capturing intimate moments during her last hours as Blossom [a close friend], Rosie [oldest daughter] and Blossom’s son, Chippy, groomed her and comforted her as she got weaker. After she passed, the chimps examined the body, inspecting Pansy’s mouth, pulling her arm and leaning their faces close to hers. Blossom sat by Pansy’s body through the night. And when she finally moved away to sleep in a different part of the enclosure, she did so fitfully, waking and repositioning herself dozens more times than was normal. For five days after Pansy’s death, none of the other chimps would sleep on the platform where she died.
Lippo dies:
[Brian Hare] was at a bonobo orphanage in the Democratic Republic of Congo when Lipopo, a newcomer to the orphanage, died unexpectedly from pneumonia. Although the other bonobos could have moved away from his body and traveled anywhere in their very large, heavily forested enclosure, they chose to stay and groom Lipopo’s corpse. When their caretakers arrived to remove the body, the vigil morphed into a tense standoff.

In the video Hare took, Mimi, the group’s alpha female, stands guard over Lipopo’s body. When the caretakers try to push the corpse out of the enclosure with long poles, Mimi fights them, viciously. She grabs the poles with both hands, wrenching them away from Lipopo. She calls to other bonobos, who help her fend off the humans from two sides. Even when the vet arrives with a tranquilizer gun, Mimi stands her ground, her mouth open wide in a scream that’s inaudible in the silent film. Mimi wasn’t related to Lipopo. In fact, she barely knew him, Hare told me.
From the NYTimes HERE.

1 comment:

  1. Highly useful and fruitful to read this article alongside the Doctor Who one.

    You could have written NyTimes article in the late 17th century with very little cultural adjustment (.e.g. they would have found the notion that tool use drew a line between the species deeply stupid yet the argument supporting and describing tool use by non-humans at this moment is in large part based on a series of meme's that would look utterly nonsensical to a modern reader ).

    To take a line from someone else and use it utterly out of context and divorce it from its original use. With this complex of entertainments, arguments, concepts, ideas, art, science.

    'the pure' products go crazy.

    Fiction and the 'meme' play a crucial role in the development of this subject.

    In terms of how a lot of the themes you are discussing at the moment,play out, I can't think of a better example than the cultural development of this subject to illustrate a range of culture moves we seem inclined to make.

    The lines between a wide range of concepts often viewed as distinct blur and bleed into each other.