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Monday, July 25, 2011

The chimp they tried to turn into a human: An extraordinary experiment in which scientists raised a chimpanzee as their child... with chilling results


Monkey business: Nim is taught sign language by volunteer Joyce Butler

The woman volunteer thought Nim was coming to hug her, but instead the young chimp lunged, biting so deep into her cheek that his fangs pierced her mouth.

As she clutched her bleeding face, the little ape was beside himself, using the same piece of sign language again and again to attract her attention. ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry,’ he repeated.

This haunting recollection is one of many contained in a riveting new film, Project Nim, by the director of the Oscar-winning Man On Wire, about one of the most bizarre scientific experiments of recent times.

'A heartless Doctor Doolittle': Professor Herb Terrace takes Nim for a ride

British film-maker James Marsh’s latest subject undertakes a journey every bit as astonishing as tightrope artist Philippe Petit’s walk on a wire strung between the Twin Towers of New York’s World Trade Centre.

Nim was a chimp that was raised as a human child in order to test out the radical theory that man and his closest relative could learn to talk to each other.

Tragically, as Marsh’s film relates through a mixture of archive footage, re-enactments and interviews with those who took part in the early-Seventies experiment, this is a tale that ultimately says more about human arrogance than simian intelligence.

Meal time: The animal eating with one of the volunteers. The chimp was given the name Nim Chimpsky - a pun on Noam Chomsky, the famous thinker who insisted that only humans have the capacity for language

source: dailymail


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