Pharyngula

McGyver lives!

And her name is Karta, and she is an orangutan. Karta escaped from her zoo pen by using a stick to short out an electric fence, then building a crude ladder to climb over a wall.

If only she’d had some coconuts and vines, she would have built a radio and called the Orangutan Liberation Front for rescue.

Comments

  1. #1 St. Tabby Lavalamp
    May 10, 2009

    Then that orangutan had a son, and that son grew up to be Dr. Zaius, the greatest of all apes.

    But seriously, doesn’t that damned dirty ape know we’re supposed to have dominion over her?

  2. #2 strangebrew
    May 10, 2009

    No doubt a feat still far removed from the capability of Luskin et al!

  3. #3 breakerslion
    May 10, 2009

    Kind of puts the Professor to shame doesn’t it? All those years and he couldn’t get Gilligan and Co. off the island. Maybe someone will pick up on this and make a new sitcom: “Are You Smarter Than an Orangutan?”

  4. #4 Sulu
    May 10, 2009

    Damn dirty apes!

  5. #5 PlaydoPlato
    May 10, 2009

    FTA:

    As she was being taken away, Karta grumbled, “And I would have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn’t for you meddling kids.”

  6. #6 Julian
    May 10, 2009

    Hmm, if only there were a theory of development which might explain why primates exhibit human-like intelligence we might have some insight into how such a plan could be carried out by an orangutan. Oh, wait.

  7. #7 blf
    May 10, 2009

    If only she’d had some coconuts and vines, she would have built a radio and called the Orangutan Liberation Front for rescue.

    Actually she’d just returned from a few pints and a brawl at The Mended Drum but made a extremely minor miscalculation and wound up on the wrong side of the fence. Hence the elaborate ruse to fool the servants into thinking it was an escape attempt. Librarians protect the secret of L-Space! It’s one of the three cardinal rules of True Librarianship.

  8. #8 'Tis Himself
    May 10, 2009

    You can make things fool proof but you can’t make them orangutan proof.

    And the Librarian would be proud of her.

  9. #9 blf
    May 10, 2009

    B.t.w., who/what is ?McGyver?? Searching finds a ?MacGyver? which is probably what Pee Zed meant??

  10. #10 Tom
    May 10, 2009

    Further evidence for why zoos shouldn’t exist: animals, which we may or may not acknowledge have intelligence and self-awareness, are kept-up in confinement for most of their lives and for what purpose? Edutainment, if you can even call it that?

  11. #11 MikeG
    May 10, 2009

    Oook.

  12. #12 bobxxxx
    May 10, 2009

    The most important point of this story is the human ape species does not have a monopoly on intelligence. Understand Christian hicks? People are not special creations of your magic fairy. Your dead Jeebus was nothing more than an ape. Christian retards worship a dead ape.

  13. #13 Anonymous
    May 10, 2009

    #10-Tom

    Horses for courses. Some animals like nothing better than being “banged-up” for life. Provide a domestic cat with abundant food, shelter and sex and it will never, ever, try to go outside. Tape worms like to stay indoors, too.

  14. #14 anathema
    May 10, 2009

    “Orangutan Liberation Front?! We’re the Front for the Liberation of Orangutans!!”

  15. #15 'Tis Himself
    May 10, 2009

    Provide a domestic cat with abundant food, shelter and sex and it will never, ever, try to go outside.

    Sex isn’t needed if you do the smart thing and GET YOUR CAT (OR DOG) NEUTERED!

  16. #16 genesgalore
    May 10, 2009

    way to go, sista!!!!!

  17. #17 jorge
    May 10, 2009

    Didn’t I see this on a rerun of “Gilligan’s Island”???? Like the other poster said At least Karta was smart enough to get off the island. I keep watching those reruns, but they still never get off that island year after year. They were marooned in 1960 something and now it’s 2009. I figure if I watch long enough, someone would find them. Either that or global warming will just submerge the island.

  18. #18 Moth Eyes
    May 10, 2009

    blf: yes, that is the show whose title character is being referred to.

  19. #19 jj
    May 10, 2009

    good for her. animals should not be forced to live in cages.

  20. #20 Aphrodine
    May 10, 2009

    @Jorge #17:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I vaguely remember the group being rescued and then they all decided to go back to the island because, hey, they get to live on a tropical island.

    Back to the issue at hand, though…

    I’m wondering if they providing her with enough mental stimulation in her pen? I mean, even chain retail stores supply hamsters with hamster wheels. What measures did they take before to ensure that she was physically and mentally fit? I’d be interested to see what measures they’ll take in the future to preoccupy her.

  21. #21 Sili
    May 10, 2009

    Thanks, blf.

    Now you’ve made me feel old.

    I think Richard Dean Anderson musta been my first mancrush – long time before I knew of the concept. Or even homosexuality in all likelihood.

  22. #22 makita
    May 10, 2009

    I used to *love* MacGyver. Until he got all mushy and sentimental towards the later episodes. Way to go Karta!

  23. #23 Laurie
    May 10, 2009

    A zookeeper friend always said that the orangutans would be the first of the primates to escape. They frequently try to pick the locks with sticks if they can reach them. All zookeepers are warned to keep very close track of their keys when in the primate areas.

  24. #24 Mike
    May 10, 2009

    Which begs the question, why do they keep her within an electric (or ‘hot wire’ in the article?) fence? The way they call it an ‘exhibit’ as well… eugh.

  25. #25 TaiYoukai
    May 10, 2009

    I don’t know what your purporting – sure we see an incident of an orangutan escaping in an unexpected way. But I think I see a confirmation bias on your part – you are ignoring all the other caged simians and instead use this as a point to spout your opinion on primate liberation. Not that is isn’t your right, but I find it a bit uncomfortable to see.

    PZ, I’ve seen better. Don’t lower your quality yet.

  26. #26 shash
    May 10, 2009

    Interestingly, Karta is Sanskrit for “Doer”… Only, it’s pronounced like “curt”, which I guess was not the intention…

  27. #27 Chris Hughes
    May 10, 2009

    Interesting though, that having sat up there for a half hour, she apparently decided to go home again, and climbed down on the enclosure side. She obviously didn’t think much of her view of the human world…

  28. #28 rob czar
    May 10, 2009

    FREE KARTA! Why are these animals in captivity and on display?

  29. #29 littlejohn
    May 10, 2009

    I always found it puzzling that the professor launched a satellite into space using coconuts and bamboo, but he apparently couldn’t fix a hole in a boat. Yeah, I’m that old.

  30. #30 Emmet, OM
    May 10, 2009

    As I said over in the other thread, I’m pretty sure the caption on that photograph should read Casey Luskin uses his microscope to search for evidence of Intelligent Design.

  31. #31 a lurker
    May 10, 2009

    “Orangutan Liberation Front?! We’re the Front for the Liberation of Orangutans!!”

    Only humans are that stupid.

    /Look on the brighter side of life

  32. #32 Paul Lundgren
    May 10, 2009

    So is Karta’s alias in the OLF something like “Rev. BigSMARTChimp?”

  33. #33 AH
    May 10, 2009

    Off-topic, but…

    I went out for sushi last night with some girlfriends and we decided to try cuttlefish sushi. After eating it and then (later) going to sleep, I think I had a dream where I met PZ Oo;;;

  34. #34 St. Tabby Lavalamp
    May 10, 2009

    While zoos are far from ideal places for most animals, orangutans are very endangered in the wild. Sure, until humanity gets over itself and allows other species to thrive without killing them off or destroying their habitat, the best option would be protected sanctuaries and parks, a good zoo would design the best possible living area for the animals in its care and places protection, conservation, and education above exhibition when possible.

  35. #35 Charlie Foxtrot
    May 10, 2009

    Ooook!

  36. #36 Notagod
    May 10, 2009

    Orangutans on the Animal Plant TV series Orangutan Island, used sticks in a similar way to escape to another part of their island. Seems to be more common intellect for orangutans not “ingenious” for them as the report’s author supposes.

    Does anyone know if christians possess similar intellectual capabilities?

  37. #37 dp
    May 10, 2009

    What’s with news.com.au putting “ingenious” and “clever” in quotation marks. Do they think ingenuity and cleverness are solely human characteristics?

  38. #38 Bunc
    May 10, 2009

    It just goes to show that you can’t keep a good ape down.

  39. #39 RickD
    May 10, 2009

    This smells like an action of the Army of the Twelve Monkeys!

  40. #40 David Marjanovi?, OM
    May 10, 2009

    Only humans are that stupid.

    Humans and chimpanzees.

    The bonobos are the ones who “make love, not war”.

  41. #41 Free Lunch
    May 10, 2009

    It would be nice if we had large areas in various parts of the world that were completely human-free zones that allowed the other large mammals to survive in their natural habitat. Unfortunately, we cannot remove every human from Borneo or Sumatra or half of Kenya. We might be able to persuade everyone to leave the western halves of North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska, though, for a massive nature preserve in the US. Unfortunately, no non-human apes are likely to survive there.

  42. #42 Becca Stareyes
    May 10, 2009

    Adding to St. Tabby at #34, re: Tom’s comment at #10, a lot of animals, including orangutans, are living in countries which are going through periods of unrest and/or cannot care for their human populations, let alone the non-human animals and plants. Keeping enough animals in captivity and maintaining genetic diversity can help if their habitats go down the toilet in the meantime. Keeping animals like orangutans in the public consciousness so that they help fund this and know something of biology is a nice side benefit.

    Of course, the animals should also be in locales interesting enough to keep them busy and happy. Sounds like Karta was trying to make her own fun, and/or see what all the goings on were about.

  43. #43 Alan Kellogg
    May 10, 2009

    We once had a pair name of Ken Allen and Kumang. He started out as a young adolescent climbing very tall trees inside the enclosure and swinging on the tips to other, very tall trees outside the enclosure. Kumang is the one who figured out how to short out the wires baring Ken from simply “spider climbing” up the walls. Spider climbing involving angles, leverage, and an orangutan’s enormous strength.

    (Basically he lodged his body in some corner of the enclosure and climbed the wall the same way a rock climber would a chimney in a cliff face.)

    Kumang was a shy person. Ken Allen would get out so he could walk the grounds and have his picture taken with the tourists. I met him once a few years before his death from cancer, and demonstrated the human’s precision grip. A grip it is physically impossible for the great apes to do because of their manual anatomy. I left him pondering his hand, and evidently asking himself, “How did he do that?”

  44. #44 Sven DiMilo
    May 10, 2009

    We might be able to persuade everyone to leave the western halves of North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska, though, for a massive nature preserve in the US.

    Buffalo Commons

  45. #45 Anonymous
    May 10, 2009

    she seems smart enough to run for republican office already….

    and who sez we doezent comez from monkeyz…

  46. #46 Alan Kellogg
    May 10, 2009

    Sven DiMilo | May 10, 2009 1:16 PM

    I recall a story about a species of owl that was losing habitat to developers. Shy animal according to naturalists, who couldn’t live alongside humans. Until one day…

    The rest of the story should be fairly obvious for those who take a bit of time to think about it.

    My point?

    Remember when white tail deer were these timid animals who would never go into human inhabited land except under the cover of night, and who would bolt at the first disturbance? I can just hear the noon traffic report for June 15th 2020 right now, “Over at Barlow’s Junction traffic has been held up by bison for over an hour now, and there is no relief in sight. Meanwhile in western Nebraska…”

  47. #47 A.Ou
    May 10, 2009

    @TaiYoukai, #25:
    You are probably reading too much into this. Note that this is not one of PZ’s extensive posts on peer-reviewed research but rather, IMHO, a lighthearted jab at creationists’ arrogance that humans are the only species capable of intelligent behavior. Confirmation bias? In light of primate research and previous zoo escapes, Karta’s escape may not be entirely a freak accident.

  48. #48 blf
    May 10, 2009

    Alan Kellogg @ 43 intrigued me, so I went searching? and found Orangutans, Resistance and the Zoo about Ken Allen, Kumang, and other escape artists.

  49. #49 Ian Spedding, FCD
    May 10, 2009

    anathema @ 14

    “Orangutan Liberation Front?! We’re the Front for the Liberation of Orangutans!!”

    BANANA SPLITTER!!

  50. #50 The Dark Avenger
    May 10, 2009

    This reminds me of this comic from xkcd.

  51. #51 Tom
    May 10, 2009

    Anonymous @ #13:

    Provide a domestic cat with abundant food, shelter and sex and it will never, ever, try to go outside.

    I have a cat who meets the criteria and tries to get outside every damn day. And, yes, I’d like to let him outside if he wasn’t a rescued cat who had his nails chopped off out of convenience of his previous “caretakers.”

  52. #52 articulett
    May 10, 2009

    Rock on Sister Hominid.

    (Next time turn the electric fence into a taser.)

  53. #53 Dust
    May 10, 2009

    Alan Kellogg predicted…….June 15th 2020 right now, “Over at Barlow’s Junction traffic has been held up by bison for over an hour now, and there is no relief in sight. Meanwhile in western Nebraska…”

    Typical summer day in some parts of Yellostone National Park. I called the bison the “Pigeons of the Park” because they and their droppings are everywhere.

  54. #54 another
    May 10, 2009

    Mr Whitehead said orangutans were not generally an aggressive animal and Karta was often used to interact with the public in behind-the-scene zoo tours, although there was always mesh between her and the public.

    ?She’s an ingenious animal,? he said.

    So are you, Mr. Whitehead. So are you.

  55. #55 dead santa
    May 10, 2009

    Tom@51,

    I agree with your assessment that cats do like to go outside even when they have everything they need, but I disagree with your idea that cats should not be declawed.

    Cats are excellent predators and kill a lot of songbirds just for fun. Declawing them decreases the number of birds they can kill; leaving them inside stops them altogether. I take the birds’ side in this case.

  56. #56 MadScientist
    May 10, 2009

    Yay apes! Now, can she teach everyone else the same trick? We’ll give them the coconut shells , wooden boxes, and an island next and they’ll be making those radios in no time.

  57. #57 MadScientist
    May 10, 2009

    @#45: APE, not monkey!

    This guy will sort you out:

    http://www.apenotmonkey.com/

  58. #58 echidna
    May 10, 2009

    dp@37 asked:

    What’s with news.com.au putting “ingenious” and “clever” in quotation marks. Do they think ingenuity and cleverness are solely human characteristics?< \blockquote>

    No, it’s about flagging sources. The quotation marks indicate that these descriptors are taken from the interviewees, and not made up by the journalist.

  59. Declawing cats is extremely cruel and is against the law in most civilised countries. Keep them indoors if you really must, use those softpaws things etc etc.

  60. #60 Pteryxx
    May 10, 2009

    “Cats are excellent predators and kill a lot of songbirds just for fun. Declawing them decreases the number of birds they can kill; leaving them inside stops them altogether. I take the birds’ side in this case.”

    Hanging a bell on the cat’s collar also saves the birds, while leaving the cat its defenses. Just sayin’.

    Fortunately my own cat is such a klutz that the birds and squirrels don’t even bother to flee. He can chase them all day; it gives him something to do.

    Many animals, like many humans, want to explore and be challenged and solve problems. Temple Grandin says cats love learning tricks as much as dogs do, for instance. Sometimes animals try to escape because that’s the only real challenge they ever have, the only problem worthy of their skills. Enrichment in itself isn’t challenge; often it just means providing more toys, novel objects and varied foods. I’d be interested to see if zoos could give their orangutans obstacle courses to solve, and if those led to fewer escape attempts.

  61. #61 Alan Kellogg
    May 10, 2009

    I don’t know if anybody’s done the work on the subject, but I’m thinking it’s the orangs who have the best skill at reading humans of all the non-human apes. They also have the most expressive faces of all the non-human apes. And being good at reading humans means being good at reading what humans do.

    It might be that at one time the ancestor of the modern orangutan was more of a tool using animal than it is now; and that, like the hobbit, the orang kept those tool using areas of the brain even though they no longer have as many opportunities to so use them living where they now do.

    As to cats; cats were bred -though inadvertantly- to be infants. Surrogate infants with infantile mannerisms and behaviors. The domestic cat is always in the process of growing up.

  62. #62 echidna
    May 10, 2009

    Pteryxx@60:
    I agree with you, except for this:

    Hanging a bell on the cat’s collar also saves the birds, while leaving the cat its defenses. Just sayin’.< \blockquote>
    The neighbour’s cat has a bell, and while it certainly curtails hunting prowess, the local noisy native birds (parrots, mainly) are still vulnerable. Australian birds haven’t evolved very well to deal with land-based predators (except for snakes). The cat’s owner has lost many goldfish to this cat, who hunts the local area for anything it can. No small pet is safe.

    Having said that, declawing is no good either. I’d rather ban cats.

  63. #63 MosesZD
    May 10, 2009

    If only she’d had some coconuts and vines, she would have built a radio and called the Orangutan Liberation Front for rescue.

    Splitters!

  64. #64 Paul Lundgren
    May 10, 2009

    @echidna 62:

    I’d rather ban cats.

    Them’s fightin’ words…

  65. #65 echidna
    May 10, 2009

    Paul Lundgren@64

    echidna @62:
    I’d rather ban cats.

    Them’s fightin’ words…

    Too right, mate.

  66. #66 Ichthyic
    May 10, 2009

    Provide a domestic cat with abundant food, shelter and sex

    um, isn’t bestiality illegal in many places?

    :p

  67. #67 GMacs
    May 10, 2009

    Now if only we could get her to play for the Wild…

    What? If she’s McGyver, she can play.

  68. #68 Nate
    May 10, 2009

    This has been the most interesting thing to happen in my home town of Adelaide in a while.

  69. #69 Monado
    May 10, 2009

    Might I suggest a cat door to an outdoor run? Some people in Toronto have gone to the extent of having cat-sized enclosed bridges, pens, ledges, etc. for their cats, e.g. out the window to a ledge, down to the ground, and up a tree to a platform. The cats love it.

    I had a pound cat that had been de-clawed by his former owners, and once he realized that grass wasn’t cold like snow, he loved to go out. I let him, because he never went far–liked to hang around in the yard with me. But one day I was working in the front yard and he came galloping joyously around the corner chasing a raccoon. I guess no one had told him.

    Also, a cat naturally patrols. It wants to make sure everything is safe at home base, then go out and check the perimeters, then home base…Once you understand that, it’s more tolerable that “a cat is always on the wrong side of any door.”

  70. #70 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 10, 2009

    Don’t let you cats wander in my neighborhood and happen to climb my fence.

    It never ends well. I know of two cats that never made it back out.

  71. #71 Michael Gray
    May 10, 2009

    I had to laugh!
    The advert on the right side of the main page reads:
    “Are You a Librarian?
    [Click Here]“

  72. #72 Jadehawk
    May 10, 2009

    declawing is cruel, and bells only work on relatively clumsy cats. on the other hand, cats are usually ok with being indoor animals as long as they’re provided enough territory and entertainment. it also helps to have more than one cat, so they can keep each other entertained. siblings work best, or at least two kittens brought home at the same time. bringing a new cat into another cat’s established territory is almost guaranteed to cause drama.

  73. #73 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 10, 2009

    bringing a new cat into another cat’s established territory is almost guaranteed to cause drama.

    That’s not just cats. Dogs are the same way. My 10 year old husky took a while to get used to both of the labs we’ve had in his lifetime. Eventually, they adjust.

  74. #74 Jadehawk
    May 10, 2009

    That’s not just cats. Dogs are the same way. My 10 year old husky took a while to get used to both of the labs we’ve had in his lifetime. Eventually, they adjust.

    well, I wouldn’t know about that, since I generally try to avoid dogs and spending time in places where dogs live. I really don’t like dogs, and that generally tends to offend every dog-person I happen to visit.

    Though, as I had it explained by a friend, that emotionally draining neediness of dogs is actually not the dogs’ fault, but rather their owners’. She once explained to me that all those “super-friendly” dogs that want attention from everyone are actually dogs that aren’t given proper attention by their owners, who leave their dogs alone too much. If that’s true though, then every dog I’ve ever met was attention-starved like that.

    And there’s absolutely no excuse at all for Yorkshire Terriers, Chihuahuas, etc. :-/

  75. #75 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 10, 2009

    I’ve always been a dong person but I know a lot of dog owners who need a good kick in the ass.

    And there’s absolutely no excuse at all for Yorkshire Terriers, Chihuahuas, etc. :-/

    On that I can agree.

  76. #76 Anonymous
    May 11, 2009

    The OLF presents a real problem to American Freedom. I think it’s high time that we fund increased CIA investigations against this Great Ape insurgency.

  77. #77 astrounit
    May 11, 2009

    Amazing how easy “humans” find it to mock creatures who are at our mercy, who are innocent and undeserving of any more abuse than we already heap upon them.

    Out of a pretty lame “sense of humor” based on the conceit of superiority.

    Fine way to treat our fellow (and quite endangered) companions in our disgustingly arrogant heads.

    No wonder we can’t refrain from from killing them off.

    We’re too friggin’ full of ourselves.

    I’ll probably get landed on, and no doubt attract a troll or two (if they have the wiles for having said so), but I don’t give a shit.

    With so many human idiocies festering in the world to tear away, why pick on those who can’t defend themselves? Some targets ARE legitimate and just begging for it, and some are not.

    PZ relates a charming tale of Karta (yes, she has a ‘self’ and is verily a thinking and feeling being) and it unleashes a barrage of jokes from “oook” to references to “Planet of the Apes”.

    Lovely.

    A little shame is not such a hard thing to accept, even if one has never had the pleasure.

    Just sayin’.

  78. #78 Janine, OMnivore
    May 11, 2009

    Astrounit, “Ook” refers to the Librarian in Terry Pratchett’s Disc World series. He is an orangutan who used to be a human, changed by a misdirected wizard’s spell. He prefers staying an orangutan, it is easier to more through the ever shifting library at the Unseen University. He is probably the most intelligent living creature in the series.

  79. #79 McH
    May 11, 2009

    If you want to help the Orangs, lay off any products that contain Palm Oil (that will not be easy.)

    http://www.orangutan.org.au/palmoil.html

    As for cats, I guess it depends on where you live. Just remembered the NZ light house keepers cat wiping out an entire endemic bird species, as reported in Douglas Adams last chance to see. Btw, dont forget Towel Day is coming up.

  80. #80 shonny
    May 11, 2009

    Posted by: Emmet, OM Author Profile Page | May 10, 2009 12:00 PM
    As I said over in the other thread, I’m pretty sure the caption on that photograph should read Casey Luskin uses his microscope to search for evidence of Intelligent Design.

    Wouldn’t it be more likely that the good-looking one in the picture had been told by Luskin to use what Lusking perceived being a microscope?
    In particular seeing the orangutan’s expression as he/she wonders how anyone can be that daft.

  81. #81 shonny
    May 11, 2009

    When it comes to cats, my ex mother-in-laws was the best. It was curled up nicely, and never moved. Ever.
    (Might have had something to do with the fact that it was stuffed).

  82. #82 Samantha Vimes
    May 11, 2009

    Yeah, the “Oook” reference is to an extremely beloved and intelligent character from the Discworld books. He’s a Wizard and a Librarian who likes being an ape. He is also a good citizen (a deputy of the Watch) and probably closer to being the sane man of the University than any of his associates.

    Terry Pratchett, the author, has raised money to protect orangutan environment. And put in some serious words about their plight; his books may be humorous, but pointed humor, and he makes people think.

    In short, the “Ook” is a shorthand for “She sounds as clever as the Librarian! That is so cool, and I respect her.”

    But if you don’t have the background, you don’t get the subtext.

  83. #83 Samantha Vimes
    May 11, 2009

    P.S. It was an orangutan whose face held such a look of hopelessness I decided I could never see caged apes again. I saw a person in those eyes, a person imprisoned without benefit of law.

    otoh, I don’t see a way around that until their habitat is secure from destruction. So the best thing is a pleasant and interesting environment, which I would say would include interacting with people in a positive fashion. I hope that the article linked to in Counterpunch was biased, but it sounded like the zookeepers were treating the apes as enemies. If the apes escape and then wander around amongst the visitors, they probably are curious about *people*.

  84. #84 Pony
    May 11, 2009

    @Chris Hughes (#27)

    Of course she took one look and then went back into her enclosure.

    It’s Adelaide.

  85. #85 Moggie
    May 11, 2009

    #75:

    I’ve always been a dong person

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  86. #86 Ranson
    May 11, 2009

    RE: “ook”

    Here’s an example from PZ’s own quotefile, linked on the side of the page:

    ‘But look,’ said Ponder, ‘the graveyards are full of people who rushed in bravely but unwisely.’
    ‘Ook.’
    ‘What did he say?’ said the Bursar.
    ‘I think he said, “Sooner or later the graveyards are full of everybody”.’

  87. #87 Ranson
    May 11, 2009

    And another:

    The Librarian of Unseen University had unilaterally decided to aid comprehension by producing an Orang-utan/Human Dictionary. He’d been working on it for three months. It wasn’t easy. He’d got as far as “Oook”.

  88. #88 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 11, 2009

    I’ve always been a dong dog person but I know a lot of dog owners who need a good kick in the ass.

    Holy shit Freudian typo and no one pointed and laughed.

  89. #89 AJS
    May 11, 2009

    I thought declawing cats was illegal, barring medical necessity? I expect the RCVS would be keen to learn of any licences that need revoking …..

    Anyway, cats only kill the old, weak and sick birds. Which means there is more food to go around the young, strong, fit ones.

  90. #90 Phil
    May 11, 2009

    “If the apes escape and then wander around amongst the visitors, they probably are curious about *people*.”

    At least at my local zoo, the older orangutans seem to spend a lot of their time people watching. (The younger ones prefer to socialize with one another and enjoy more active forms of entertainment.) None of them seem too depressed, except when they have to stay indoors for an extended period during the winter or periods of bad weather. (Of course they benefit from lots of climbing opportunities, choice of enclosure, private areas, etc. that many other zoos probably don’t have. Also the zoo conducts a lot of studies on primate cognition so that helps to keep them mentally stimulated.)

  91. #91 blueelm
    May 11, 2009

    “She once explained to me that all those “super-friendly” dogs that want attention from everyone are actually dogs that aren’t given proper attention by their owners”

    I really love animals, but I can’t stand most people’s dogs for this reason. That being said, it’s not just neglect. The people I know who have the worst and most annoying dogs condition the poor animals to act like that by consistently rewarding their annoying habits. Did the dog bark all the way through dinner, pee on the floor under the table, and stick its nose up your houseguest’s skirt? Why not give it some food from the table then!? I mean he must be stressed out because you brought a guest in…. or better yet scream at the dog until you sound exactly the same as him and then give him a treat. You know, so that it’s completely confusing who’s controlling what.

    yeah. most of the problem with dogs has nothing to do with dogs.

  92. #92 Sili
    May 11, 2009

    (Would someone care to teach me to become a dong-person? (It was recommended to me the other day (thread?), but I’m only partway there, really))

    I got my Dummkatz when he was only a coupla months old (I think – he was discovered lost, in the rain (I wonder if that’s why he’s afraid of thunder)), but he was immediately accepted by my neighbour’s older cats when I first let him out. The oldest and biggest even defended him the first day, because the other neighbours dog didn’t like Dummkatz when he first saw him, so he started yapping at the stupid kitten. I didn’t see it, myself, I’ve been told that Hamilton (a pretty big Maine Coon mix) ran over and stuck a claw in the dogs nose. Since then Dummkatz has had the run of the place. He spends every day with the other cat (Sebastian). And even some nights.

    (In my defence I almost never use smilies, so I have a paranthesis allowance to spend on this post.)

  93. #93 astrounit
    May 11, 2009

    Good. I’m glad it has nothing to do with “oook-as-disparaging”. Not that I ever thought an innocent vocalization has any deprecating aspects…aside from some who find it a little too easy to “ape” the sound for a few laughs.

    I know all about the “ook” reference from the Discworld series. That wasn’t my point (and to have raised it would have made my post even more tiresomely Baroque than it usually is).

    NOT everyone – including young people – are aware of such unannounced references.

    There IS such a thing as attempting to compose a post that the novice reader will better be able to digest.

    As a kid I grew up laughing my ass off with Don Martin cartoons (of Mad Magazine fame) who occasionally drew hairy primates (some of human vintage) who remarked, “OOOT GREET!!!”, and so on. (Kids – or pseudo-grownups who haven’t come across what was once a national icon – if you like FUNNY cartoons, look up Don Martin books; trust me, you’ll laugh your head off. The adventures of Captain Klutz alone used to leave me panting for oxygen)

    It still brings a smile when I recall all those.

    But some things really DON’T translate well…

    In our heads or anywhere else.

    If the pricks can hold “something sacred”, we sure as hell can too. I’m just wondering when we start demonstrating that we in fact DO, and know HOW.

    …is all I was sayin’.

  94. #94 MikeG
    May 11, 2009

    astrounit,
    Pratchett has long been a recurring theme here at Pharyngula. It’s a bit of an in-joke, I suppose. No need to get the panties in a twist. Besides, what you have to worry about are the smells. They creep up on you.

  95. #95 Ranson
    May 12, 2009

    @ astrounit

    I can agree on Martin — I’ve got a large softbound volume of his work from MAD. His sound effects were as evocative as his art. I was very disappointed when he jumped ship to Cracked, which I felt to be an inferior publication. I think Gaines really screwed up on the royalty deal, though, so I can’t blame the man.

  96. #96 blf
    May 15, 2009

    Interesting though, that having sat up there for a half hour, she apparently decided to go home again, and climbed down on the enclosure side. She obviously didn’t think much of her view of the human world…

    I think The Grauniad wins the internets, however, since it published the best explanation (which I only just found in the dead-tree version):

    In praise of … orang-utans

    Man is one of our closest and most enigmatic cousins. The species is intelligent and inquisitive and spends large amounts of time looking at us. Like us, they have the ability to learn the value of tokens and trade them, although that activity has been causing them some anxiety of late. One of our researchers, Karta, conducted an experiment recently. She jammed a stick into a stinging fence which humans had constructed around her, then built a pile of debris to clamber to the top. We climb all the time in trees, of course, but the point was to observe the reaction of humans. They evacuated their young, which proves they can respond to a changing environment. Unfortunately their responses are limited to specific events. They consistently fail to get the bigger picture. Take the various reasons they give for chopping down our rainforest in Borneo and Sumatra. It is done for the wood, they say. But then, and this is truly bizarre, they come up with an ecological reason for chopping down the rest. They now clear the forest to plant oil palm, which they judge more acceptable to use than oil proper, and acacia trees for wood pulp. In Sumatra there are only 7,000 of us left, and soon there may not be enough for a sustainable population. Humans show remorse by giving 800 of our orphans refuge. But what is the point of nurturing our children if they attack the rainforest on which we depend? The only consolation is that when our habitat goes, theirs will too. Further research into this ­suicidal species is urgently needed.

    Ironic that I found the above in the dead-tree version. Apologies to all LibrariansmOrang-utans everywhere?

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