Watching the Chimpanzees

Chimpanzees are genetically 98% similar to human beings. That makes them the closest living relative to the human race. So why isn’t this okay? Is science really challenging religion? Or are we just keeping our minds closed to the evidence that is out there? Humans act similar to Chimpanzees. When the human male wants to show that he is stronger then another individual, he’ll demonstrate this by throwing objects at the floor, or raising his voice, or will act in an aggressive manner. This is the way that Chimpanzees behave. So what is the difference between us and them? They behave like us; they get depressed like us.

When I was a little, I remember watching the Chimpanzees at the Hogle Zoo, in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was hard for me to decipher the differences between the hands the chimps had, and human hands. I was fascinated with the feet of the Chimps, because they looked like hairy human hands. I remember my innocence, as I watched the monkeys in the jungle gym, and how they were very hard to distinguish from the humans. I remember this, before I learned the prejudices later on. As a child, I had an open minded acceptance that Chimpanzees and other apes were somehow our relatives. As I look back on the knowledge that I had, I want to find that same acceptance again.

So what is the real difference from human and Apes? Apes are unable to build cars, they don’t speak human language, and they definitely are not capable of producing the most sophisticated art. But Chimpanzees do have innovators because it is proven that they can invent very simple tools. Jane Goodman observed Chimpanzees using grass reeds and sticks to extract termites. The young ones learned and observed their parents, and they in turn figured it out. They had the talent and that ability to learn. They had social structures, and matriarchal leaders. They had disputes, and resolved them quickly, showing their affection and reassurance by grooming each other.

So I accept the fact that Chimpanzees are my relatives. What is so wrong with that? They are family, though they are truly inferior. But the fact is, when I was a child, I did not see these creatures as inferior. I didn’t even see them as animals. I hadn’t developed these perceptions, until I was to become older. So at one time, chimps were my equals, and they shared that connection. I remember sitting there at the exhibit, and having a diapered chimp walking up to the window, and having him study me with curious eyes. He was on my level, and he could’ve been a playmate, if there hadn’t been the glass that separated us.

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