Ape Genius
Kanzi the Bonobo
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Kanzi the Bonobo

What would it be like to converse with a bonobo? According to primatologist Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, a lead scientist at the Great Ape Trust of Iowa, these apes cannot only understand language, but some of them can convey their thoughts and feelings to humans and to each other by pointing to any of hundreds of symbols on lexigram keyboards. Given her experience, Savage-Rumbaugh believes the cognitive gap between humans and bonobos is small enough that we can bridge it and form meaningful relationships with our great ape relatives. In this audio slide show, meet Kanzi, the Trust's alpha male, who has demonstrated an extraordinary ability to communicate on our terms.—Rima Chaddha

This feature originally appeared on NOVA's The Last Great Ape Web site.

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