It does seem like the more we learn about animals the more we realise how similar we are to them. There was a time when we thought we were the only creatures who could do a great number of complex tasks but that list is narrowing fast by observing the actions of crows, chimpanzees, elephants, whales and other very intelligent creatures that are just a stone’s throw away from building great cities and fire-bombing each other over the right to not be ruled over by some mustachio’d baboon overlord.
Well, I’m sure Steve Jobs would have been very pleased to know that Apple’s super sexy device, the ipad 2 is being implemented in zoos to allow Orangutans to interact with other apes in different zoos via the facetime app, in a scheme known, rather aptly, as ‘apps for apes’.
A cute name for a cute idea, and although the apes are apparently not allowed to directly hold the devices because they’re strong enough to break them into two very expensive, electronic pieces, they seem to be quite enjoying it, and one, unsurprisingly for those who’ve seen the man’s interactions with Gorillas, has taken a liking to national treasure and world-renowned naturalist, Sir David Attenborough.
Take a look at the full article here.
So is there anything that our animal cousins can’t do?
If you gave a bonobo a cement mixer and some planning permission would it start building the Empire State Building or would it just continue to hump everything in a one hundred metre radius?
Certainly some are very much limited, you wouldn’t have much luck getting a serpent to enjoy playing Call Of Duty 3, but then again I’m about as apathetic about that series of games as our reptilian cousins anyway.
Certainly limbs help, as do opposable thumbs, complex language systems, large brains, the ability to walk on two legs (leaving two limbs free) and a relatively long lifespan.
But we’re far from perfect, and it’s amusing to play with a planet of the apes-style idea of what would have happened if another species had gotten there first, however unlikely such an event could be given the many variables and the millions of years it takes for evolution to carry out drastic, large scale changes.