‘Project Nim’: A Chimp’s Very Human, Very Sad Life

by Accidental Bear

I’m a chimp, you’re a chimp, wouldn’t you like to be a chimp too? After you listen to this story  on NPR’s Fresh Air, your answer most likely will be No.

Listen to the Story   Fresh Air from WHYY

In the early 1970s, a chimpanzee named Nim was plucked from his mother's arms and transported into human homes in the hopes that he would learn sign language and open a window into ape thoughts.

(via NPR)

In 1973, an infant chimpanzee was taken from his mother’s arms and sent to live with a human family as part of a Columbia University psychology experiment.

The goal of the project was to see if the animal, named Nim Chimpsky, could be conditioned to communicate with humans if he was raised like a human child in a human household. He learned some very basic words in American Sign Language, but Nim continued to act like a chimp — he bit the children in the house and didn’t understand how to behave like a human child. It was decided that the family could no longer care for Nim, and he was shuffled from caretaker to caretaker for several years.

Read Full Story HERE


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