I have always been quick to say ‘humans are not animals’. Perhaps because of my religious upbringing but most importantly, I think, coupled with deductive reasoning, I somehow find it hard to equate man and animal. Humans are moral agents who act with respect to right and wrong. We can define and be defined as wicked and/or kind. We can be good or we can be bad. We have a choice that isn’t entirely controlled by instinct. No scientists, philosophers or psychologists can accurately predict any human would do in any given situation. We have rational thinking and have a grasp of life, death and the afterlife. I guess it’s biologically acceptable to be termed ‘animal’ since we are not plants (but wouldn’t that be proof by elimination?). However, that should be the only place where such similarities are drawn and attempts at the proof of common ancestry made.
Okay, well I came across an article recently that might have proven me wrong. Clearly, not everyone shares my sentiments. It certainly got me thinking.
The article in TIME Magazine (14 March 1994) titled HOW MAN BEGAN, began with the opening statement ‘No single essential difference separates human beings from other animals’.
No single essential difference, eh? Hmmm…
Maybe they were right after all considering:
Apes are capable of aesthetic creation and appreciation. They admire colours and their combination to form great works of art. Like some humans, the idea of shame is an alien concept to apes and they think nothing of exposing parts hitherto regarded as intimate and private for public consumption. Apes do not have private parts, they possess public parts for public view scantily covered. Apes also do not think much on the sanctity of the marriage institution. Indeed, to them, it is rocket science. So they see it as perfectly normal to exhibit their coupling tendencies at every given (and sometimes seized) opportunity. They can do it in a car, on a car- and even under a car. Trees are a great option too and they have no inhibitions with or without the black eye of a camera filming. Some apes really do not think deeply on what the future holds for them. For those that do, they are deeply concerned about not only origin but also fate. Apes occasionally hold conferences and symposiums around the world to deliberate on issues that affect the general wellbeing of the kingdom ‘manimalia’. (Though I dare to say, after such conferences, conclusions are promptly forgotten or, at least, not acted upon). Apes are able to hold deep meaningful conversations since they have a rather wide and excellent vocabulary. They have laboratories where research is carried out with elaborately advanced technologies and where, in some odd cases hideous schemes are hatched to bring misery to man (or is it manimalia?). One of those cases is where men are caught and placed in cages for use for experiments. Apes are also able to think up and write impossible theories and thesis, like the baboon that wrote a book in 1859 on the origin of species which explained how apes evolved from man. Or was it the other way round?
Apes can be fiercely territorial and have far-reaching ambitions. It is a characteristic primordially, genetically coded. A perfect example is the emperor monkey who, between 1939-1945, attempted to conquer the world in a war that caused the death of over 60 million primates.
Apes can be sex-maniacs. The story is whispered of a general gibbon who, thankfully, expired under dubious circumstances between the mammary bulbs of four (FOUR?!) ladies of the night. Legend has it that it was never ascertained whether his transfer to the great beyond was facilitated as a result of an all-night marathon exercise of waist-jiggling or the malign influence of Viagra aggravation of his cirrhosis-ridden liver.
Apes can be wicked too. A 6ft 4’’ tall gorilla who was aptly named after the Yoruba word for ‘buttocks’ was responsible for the deaths of around 500 000 primates. He proved that not only humans could name and so named the Lake Edward after himself. He also accorded himself many titles such as Field Marshall Al Hadji Doctor and CBE (Conqueror of the British Empire) amongst others. The same TIME magazine described him as a ‘killer and clown, big-hearted buffoon and strutting martinet’.
More locally, apes have argued that since they have been blessed with a deep sense of origin and roots, it logically (???) follows that their cultural ties be not wilfully forgotten or taken lightly. This is the basis for the argument for a monkey rule called ‘zoning’. Their dim-witted inability to see a difference between animal husbandry and people management and leadership has seen them in heated debates and drawing the conclusion that genuine competency should be sacrificed for cultural origin.
Apes, like humans, have been observed to have the ability to handle tools. More primitive apes could handle sticks to lure termites out from their holes. More technologically advanced chimpanzees can sit at computer consoles for hours on end, day after day, displaying a high sense of dedication and diligence until they find an unwary ‘maga’ to lure money from.
Apes, to speak highly and truthfully, are attributed with natural inquisitiveness and have forayed into several fields of endeavour. One loopy ape in the music industry suffered a case of mistaken identity and sang that he was willing to be a scapegoat and another rascally ape who made an expedition into politics (a venture which I must say he was ill-fitted for) made the unfortunate mistake of undermining the long-term memory of humans as he attempted to ‘maradonna’ his way back into a post he had formerly held and abused. Perhaps he thought he could flash his gap-toothed smile and we would forget ‘annulment’. Another venerable ape of the specie, Homo Despicabulus and fondly called ‘Baba’ is under the irrevocable delusion that nothing can happen in the nation without his express approval. One silly baboon escaped detection from airport scanners and attempted to blow up an America bound airliner with a bomb ensconced in his underwear. Did I mention that it was an ape who wrote that article in question- HOW MAN BEGAN– in the TIMES Magazine?
Truly the similarities are endless, wouldn’t you agree?
AKPOVETA, Valentine ‘t