Chimpanzees and humans were given the spotlight in “What Makes Us Different,” the cover story in last week’s Time Magazine (Oct. 9th). It’s not a bad piece for the masses, but I anticipate a few “I ain’t descended from no monkey” letters to the editor will appear. Although we at the Chimp Refuge appreciate DNA homology and the intricacies of gene regulation just as much as the next monkey, the striking evidence gleaned from field observations is equally compelling.
Today in Einsteinville NJ, the matriarch of the Bushwell troop was spotted food gathering with one of the young males of the Refuge. Eschewing tools in favor of their opposable thumbs, the matriarch and the young male rooted out some tasty wraps at a local restaurant, and exchanged lively pant-hoots.
After lunch, the younger ape was eager for rowdy play under the watchful yet indulgent eyes of his elder. The young ape gleefully whacked at a granite sculpture in Quark Park. The young ape, named Kevin, wished that the other young male of the Bushwell troop, Jim, who professes a love of drum sticks, could be there to flip out the microphones and relays with his percussive talents.
Here we see Kevin, a fine young Pan sapiens specimen, relaxing against the lithophone:
Eating and play are important components of a healthy chimp troop. Grooming is also characteristic of chimpanzee and bonobo behavior and promotes social bonding among these primates:
Likewise, Pan sapiens forges social ties by picking ticks n’ nits. Here we see the matriarch of the Bushwell troop grooming young Kevin.
If this isn’t solid empirical evidence for our close relationship with Pan troglodytes and Pan paniscus, I don’t know what is.