Most apes, like Kanzi, have what to us are very strange cravings
Kanzi, the world’s most intelligent animal, sits inside his sunlit cage, dreaming of poo.
This very special bonobo ape lives in Des Moines, Iowa under the watchful care of scientists with the Great Ape Trust, where he spends his days making fires, communicating through computerized pictograms, and, now and again, snacking on choice dumps.
Kanzi is the brother to another special ape Panbanisha, who died in 2012 of symptoms related to a cold — possibly due to poor care from the woman who used to train them, Dr. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh. Though she was later reinstated because of her uncanny connection with the animal kingdom — from hearing the first puppy speak English to being able to listen to the thoughts of turtles — she eventually left the center and moved to New Jersey.
“Kanzi has a working vocabulary of over one thousand words,” Dr. Savage-Rumbaugh boasted joyfully. “He had even learned to string simple sentences together (some of which were very imaginative).”
“I remember his very first sentence,” she went on nostalgically. “He came over to the lexigram board around lunch time and pointed at ‘eat,’ as he normal does, but then he pointed at ‘poop’ immediately afterwards. Of course, he’s not able to use conjunctions and articles but I knew he was saying he wanted to eat lunch first and then use the restroom. What a gentleman he was!”
“Although, for some reason he didn’t want the banana we tried to give him.”
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