Friday, March 23, 2007

On Monkeys and Morals

Our cousin the ape.

An amazingly groundbreaking experiment was performed in Florida in 1931-32, thanks to the countless hours of experimental research performed by Winthrop and Luella Kellogg. They took their newborn son, Donald, and had him live with a baby chimpanzee named Gua for 9 months. The purpose of the study is documented as follows:
Suppose an anthropoid were taken into a typical human family at the day of birth and reared as a child. Suppose he were fed upon a bottle, clothed, washed, bathed, fondled, and given a characteristically human environment; that he were spoken to like the human infant from the moment of parturition; that he had an adopted human mother and an adopted human father... The experimental situation par excellence should indeed be attained if this technique were refined one step farther by adopting such a baby ape into a human family with one child of approximately the ape's age.
Read this next bit very, very carefully: Make sure you check out the full documentation of this amazing experiment!!!
(NOTE: Not only did bold it, but we also used a triple exclamation point in the previous paragraph. We treat the triple exclamation point with great respect here at HPO, and we don't use it very often. So if you didn't click on that link yet, you are obviously an idiot, and we will do you a huge favor and give you another chance to go to visit that amazing website.)
Here is a summary of the conclusions reached by the Doctors Kellogg:
At the end of nine months the Kelloggs demonstrated that environment, particularly psychological environment, is necessary for the development of an individual's inherent abilities. Gua, treated as a human child, behaved like a human child except when the structure of her body and brain prevented her. This being shown, the experiment was discontinued.
On-believable. We are speechless. If we could shake Dr. Kellogg's hand, we would. But we can't, because he's taking a dirt nap.

Food for thought...
While more recent research shows that monkeys can be taught to do human activities, it is yet to be definitively proven if monkeys can think and feel in the same way that humans can. However, more and more conclusive evidence is emerging that narrows the already-sparse gap between us and our ape cousins.
From our friend Casey over at MonkeyDayNews:
Some animals are surprisingly sensitive to the plight of others. Chimpanzees, who cannot swim, have drowned in zoo moats trying to save others. Given the chance to get food by pulling a chain that would also deliver an electric shock to a companion, rhesus monkeys will starve themselves for several days...
Young rhesus monkeys learn quickly how to behave, and occasionally get a finger or toe bitten off as punishment. Other primates also have a sense of reciprocity and fairness. They remember who did them favors and who did them wrong. Chimps are more likely to share food with those who have groomed them. Capuchin monkeys show their displeasure if given a smaller reward than a partner receives for performing the same task, like a piece of cucumber instead of a grape.

That chimp has exactly one more black belt than we do.

Amazing. The research actually shows that certain apes and New World monkeys actually exhibit complex social behavior through structured interactions within their social circles. This has been documented and proven extensively.

Monkeys will actually starve themselves rather than get fed, if the only way to get fed is to hurt their friends. Monkeys will punish bad behavior, console their friends who are hurt, and even put themselves in harm's way to defuse potentially volatile situations such as fights within their own tribe.

Give them citizenship, and let them walk amongst us, wild and free.

Thanks to the Blue Pig for sending us that video. It seems like the song was met with mixed results. Here are some comments regarding Terrance and his dads that we managed to find on the internets:

I dare anyone to watch this without smiling and simultaneously holding back tears - Rick Sincere

This world is going insane - Lizol

when you turn 18, terrance, one of them will ask you out on a date. - pipecorp

Une belle leçon de tolérance ! Merci. - Annibor

It's really catchy. And I don't really like rap but hey, this song is so worth it - Shini-ttebayo

I wonder what bath time was like in that household - FatherofFive

God bless the Dutch, and God bless and keep Terrance and his two fathers - Raymond A

I wonder if his fathers are insane showbiz-wannabee types (like those gay guys in the HBO docu about child beauty pageants) who forced him to sing this song - Bacteriaburger

I actually got really emotional from this video, how gay am I? haha - apa86

Anything like this in America would shake the epicenter of the religious right, whose own "Jesus Camp" instructs exactly the opposite: intolerance and a virtual jihad against anyone who doesn't share their beliefs - Ellis Grey


Anonymous Blue Pig said...

Thirty years later, a group of social scientists approached Donald Kellogg to talk about his impressions from his childhood and memories from the time of experiment. Unfortunately, Donald refused to climb down the tree and threw poo on unsuspecting sociologists.

7:03 AM  

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