Jane Goodall has pushed me too far.
DISCLAIMER: I dig chimps and other primates and we ought not be testing shampoo, make-up, or any other toxic waste on them.
I grew up reading about Jane Goodall - I can remember reports about her work with chimps in the National Geographic we got at the house when I was but a wee one.
Just read an interview with her in the latest Readers Digest that tripped my freakin' trigger.
"RD: Can you sum up what you have learned from 50 years of living among the wild chimpanzees?
JG: A little humility. We humans are unique, but we're not as different as we used to think. Between chimps and humans, there is only about a 1 percent difference in DNA. Our biggest difference is our spoken language, which has enabled us to develop culturally in ways that chimpanzees have not."
Okay Jane - I gotta differ with you here. I can think of a lot of bigger differences other than our spoken language.
TOOLS: Yes, I know monkeys use tools - but how does licking a stick to get termites on it in order to eat the termites compare with uhmmm, something like constructing the Hoover Dam or the Great Pyramid or building satellites?
THE ARTS: Outside of a couple Clint Eastwood movies and some TV spots, what have chimps and primates really done artistically? Sure, give enough chimps paint and canvas and eventually you might end up with some pretty good Jackson Pollack knock-offs, but c'mon already. Look where they live - do they ever spruce it up with painting, sculpture, or mixed media creations?
MUSIC: While we have seen monkeys dance to hand-cranked organs, they really don't do much else musically. Do they sing? Can they play the cello? Do they even crank the organs? In my little music room I have a set of drums. Sure, given enough time and stimuli, some chimps MIGHT play the drums (maybe as well as I do), but there is an equal chance they will just set up shop in the kick-drum and make everything smell bad.
LITERATURE: You know the old saw about a monkey n a typewriter and enough time might equal great literature, etc. etc. However, monkeys and typewriters/word processors have been around each other for decades - have they produced anything remotely like Shakespeare? Or maybe even National Enquirer? Methinks NOT.
HYGIENE: Almost all of us have a really weird relative or neighbor or kid we went to school with, but do any of them poop in their hands and toss it at people? I bet even your silly cousin Gina doesn't groom you when she sits next to you at Thanksgiving dinner. What? She does? - Well, I bet she doesn't eat the bugs she picks offen ya!
The checklist here is enormous - have chimps built houses? Can they use GPS? Have they developed methods of preserving their food? Do they have systems in place to dispose of their waste? Refrigeration?
Are they active on Facebook or other social media sites??
Do they have shopping malls? Movie theatres? 500 foot waterslides down streets in Grand Rapids, Michigan? Sure - they can ride bikes in a circus for treats, but did they invent automobiles? Can they do their go-zintas? Any sign of recycling in their community?
With all due respect Ms Goodall - you are fulla beans.