iChimp: Chimps Are Now Using iPads
June 21, 2012 2 Comments
It is just another normal day for some chimps at the Houston Zoo. After eating a breakfast of raw cabbage, and enjoying a nice scamper around the cage, they head over to their very own iPads to engage in a game of disintegrate the goldfish. The digital revolution has given chimpanzees the ability to take advantage of the very technology we get to use and benefit from on a daily basis.
If you are already familiar with Terence Mckenna’s Stoned Ape Theory, you would know that chimpanzees are our direct ancestors and it is believed our brains have almost doubled in size over the past 1,000,000 years or so. This increased super brain power has given us the ability to create some amazing technology, and now we are treating our chimp ancestors to some of the wealth.
“Chimps and orangutans and other apes are very intelligent,” said chimp keeper Helen Boostrom. “In the wild, the problems they must solve are finding food and shelter. They don’t have to do that at the zoo. This is enrichment. It helps them use their minds.”
The Houston Zoo is also planning to explore establishing connections with other zoos to allow local primates to visit face-to-face online with their cross-continent peers through Skype. The chimpanzees, and also the orangutans that get to use these devices always show the same reaction on their faces when they solve a problem and get something right in one of the touch pad games. It is almost as if they are consciously acknowledging that they are learning something and they actually appreciate it as much as they can’t really explain it or express it through spoken word and language.
Some of the chimps get distracted and bored really fast, and I don’t blame them, they are such active creatures that they need to be swinging around on trees or throwing shit (literally) at each other. That is what separates them a lot from us human beings. We have become so dependent on technology that some of us don’t feel the need to get any kind of physical activity. We don’t live in the wild, we live in security.
I have always questioned how there are still chimpanzees on this earth, while we are also here and evolved from them. Why haven’t they evolved too? We might be able to trace that back to The Stoned Ape Theory, but I think that is the way evolution might work. It likes to branch out, but if the old species can still survive, it can live. Survival of the fittest at its finest.
There is also the question of should we even be giving these chimpanzees technology to use? Should we let them just live their lives in their natural habitats, and not feel the need to interrupt? I don’t really have an answer for that, but it is still quite astonishing to look back, and see how our technology has given us the ability to even ponder these questions.
Where will it take us next?