Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ape Ogling

Oh, how time evaporates...

Time Machine - the following post dateline November 8, 2009:

A bike ride that looped through the Lincoln Park Zoo was a nice opportunity to observe some apes. As not only on of the oldest, but also one of the still free zoos in the country, it is worth reflecting on our (albeit highly problematic) access to animal life as city dwellers.

N. and I took a stroll through the cat house, where we saw some very odd monsters in the cage, and wielding a hose no less. A couple days later in the Flaxman I came cross Animal Logic by Barnes by chance; the resonances resonated.

Onto the "Primate House" where the gorillas were typically quiet and somewhat withdrawn while the chimpanzees simply lounged. Cashew curled in one nest while her daughter poked at her occasionally, as parent and kids are wont to do.

A PBS show a couple years back watched Cashew with her son exploring a new "habitat enhancement" that had just been introduced to the enclosure. As biologist Elizabeth Lornsdorf talks to Alan Alda:

The individual that just took his tool is Cashew, who's an adult female and her son is next to her, swiping her ketchup from her. So he is not yet really into fishing on his own, he would rather mom do the work and he would rather steal. But notice, she is not offering it to him, she doesn't, you know, really seem to want him to have it, but he's just in a good place to get it from her.

The scene made me think of Alison Ruttan and her primatological body of work. Of course as cousins, the parallels are completely unsurprising to me, but maybe I'm just being anthropomorphic?

I aspire to join the ranks of the other "Great Apes" - chimps, gorillas, bonobos, and such. For now and s a human though, I wonder if its best to settle for " So-So Ape" status, till I get my priorities worked out a little bit more.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

petal to pollen


the "Christmas cactus" in the bathroom is apparently eager to get a jump on the blooming holidays.