COLUMBUS, Ohio - After a little more than three years' effort, psychologists at Ohio State University have taught a pair of young chimpanzees to "read" the names of nearly a dozen objects, to recognize the animals' own printed names and the names of tools they need to acquire their favorite foods.
In three more years, they hope to teach the animals to communicate in simple sentences.
That may seem a modest accomplishment -- giving a chimp a dozen-word vocabulary. But it is really a major step forward in a 20-year study of how these great apes learn, communicate and handle information. And at the end of this process, these animals may be able to use it to tell us - in their own words - about chimpanzee culture and society.
Sally Boysen, a professor of psychology at Ohio State, has spent more than two decades investigating how a colony of chimps at the university learn and communicate. Her latest work is the subject of an hour-long documentary, "Keeli & Ivy: Chimps Like Us," set to air Sunday night, April 14, 2002, (8 PM ET) on the Discovery Channel.
Aside from Boysen and her
staff, the real stars of this
program are two six-year old
primates whose arrival at the
OSU Chimpanzee Center gave
Contact: Sally Boysen
Ohio State University