A few years ago I was at a barbecue with friends and a guy I didn’t know drank a little too much and decided to declare he was an atheist and then mock anyone who believed in God.
He said the way science was progressing pretty soon we’d have talking animals and what would I think about the specialness of humans, then? I told him it depended on what the animal said and went back to my potato salad.
Washoe, the first chimpanzee to master the skill of using human sign language, has passed away at the age of 42. Trained in American Sign Language, Washoe was said to have a vocabulary of about 130 signs. No doubt the debate over a chimp’s ability to learn human language will not end with Washoe’s demise.
I looked on the “Friends of Washoe” website and although I was intrgiued I couldn’t help but wonder one thing about this talking chimp but nowhere could I find it: If the chimp could speak using sign language what did he say?”
Shouldn’t that be available somewhere? I looked all over. If the chimp said something interesting like, “Hey you guys would you possibly consider letting me go?” or maybe even, “Hey you guys considering bringing any chicks around here anytime soon?” then I’d be intrigued. But until then…bring on more potato salad.