Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

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Tulane University researchers have successfully taught a captive gorilla that he will die one day. The gorilla, named Quigley, is now able to experience the crippling fear of impending death previously only accessible to humans.


Comments

  1. #1 David Harmon
    April 5, 2010

    Gaah. When I saw the “headline”, I started to *snarl* until I saw that it was from the Onion. In any case, as per a recent mailing from the Gorilla Foundation, their Koko understands the permanence (and gravity) of death perfectly well — her first cat got into the road and was hit by a car.

    Even dogs and cats can understand that death is permanent … the key point there is they need to know that their former companion is in fact dead, not just absent!. Over on Making Light a couple of pet owners have mentioned making sure the other pets were present for a euthanization. More interesting, one commenter couldn’t manage to actually bring the other pets (too many, IIRC), but she brought a towel or the like for the euthanized pet to lie on during the process. Upon smelling the blanket, the surviving pets seemed to get the news immediately, and made no attempt to look for their missing friend.

  2. #2 parclair
    April 5, 2010

    Ha! The first thing I did was check the date (April 1?) Then, straight to comments. Got me good.

  3. #3 G.D.
    April 5, 2010

    David Harmon: “Even dogs and cats can understand that death is permanent … the key point there is they need to know that their former companion is in fact dead, not just absent!.”

    Can you back that assertion up by anything other than the most credulous of anecdotal evidence? The example you offer sounds to me like confirmation bias from hell.

  4. #4 G.D.
    April 5, 2010

    David Harmon: “Even dogs and cats can understand that death is permanent … the key point there is they need to know that their former companion is in fact dead, not just absent!.”

    Can you back that assertion up by anything other than the flimsiest of anecdotal evidence? The example you offer sounds to me like confirmation bias from hell.

  5. #5 G.D.
    April 5, 2010

    Sorry, double posting.

  6. #6 Murray Hansen
    April 5, 2010

    Dear Researchers: Why in the WORLD would you seriously entertain the thought of teaching Quigley “the crippling fear of impending death” ? Surely, amid the vast knowledge available to you, there just might have been a more suitable, or at least more worthwhile, subject. Murray

  7. #7 G.D.
    April 6, 2010

    I’m curious, Murray … did you really watch the video? You see, your comment is far funnier if you actually did watch the video (although it is funny nonetheless).

  8. #8 "GrrlScientist"
    April 6, 2010

    don’t forget: there are two sorts of scientists in the world; the clueless geeky scientists and the mad, evil scientists. i guess the scientists in the video are the second sort.

    (i kinda wonder what happens to mad, evil scientists who are unemployed for years? where do they go and what do they do?)

  9. #9 Ivan
    May 1, 2010

    crazy scientists.. but i’d like to thank them, because I understood the main problem of human civilization. It is fear of death.
    Isnt it?

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