Can Orangutan Blogs Be Far Behind?

Thoughtful Orangutan

When I was working on a project to design and install educational computer kiosks in an art museum, I met a person who was working on a similar project. We traded war stories about how hard it was to get users to understand what to do with the early, pre-Web touchscreens that we were designing. My woes were nothing compared to those of my colleague–his users were orangutans at the National Zoo!

The initial installation didn’t go as anticipated. The minute the orangutan saw the new computer, he went up to it, lifted it–though it was bolted down–and carried it over his head triumphantly. NOT the expected behavior! It turned out that territoriality was the culprit. The ape did not like people imposing changes in his space.

Eventually, the team decided to make it possible for the orangs to opt for computer learning. They devised a transportation system of ropes that the apes could use to get from their living space to the learning center. They call it the “O Line”.

Success! Exciting results have shown that orangs are as capable of linguistic learning as any of the apes. Now scientists are hoping that at some point, people and orangs will be able to have two-way conversations via computers.

Who knows? Maybe some day an orangutan will comment on my blog!


6 thoughts on “Can Orangutan Blogs Be Far Behind?

  1. Hey Vicki~

    You NEVER cease to amaze me, how you find such FASCINATING information to pass on to us!

    Why does it NOT surprise me that these adorable creatures have the capability of linguistic learning?

    I jokingly, use to tell people (when I use to be a hair-cutter) that this trade took NO great talent, and could so EASILY be taught to a monkey!

    Hmmm…now I’m not so sure I DIDN”T have some talent!

    I loved the photo of the orangutan touching the computer screen…how precious!

    Thank you Vicki…for putting a smile on my face, love in my heart…and some “thought” in my head!

    Be well,

  2. Hi Ron,

    No comments yet from any apes (that I can tell–ha ha).

    Thanks for being so appreciative. You really motivate me–you are my blog muse!

    Oh, and last night I read about getting the Thoughtful Blogger badge uploaded. As you say, whoaaa! I’ll try doing it when I feel a little stronger–I have never dealt with widgets, and WordPress’s instructions are waaay over my head!

    If there are any orangutans out there who can help, please let me know 😉

    Did you visiit your squirrel friends today, Ron?


  3. A friend and I were at the local zoo the other day… neither of us had been for years, and we saw 2 ‘men of the jungle’. Zoos have changed a lot since I was there last, much closer to real habitats, and the animals seemed contented. Even so, I think we still understand very little about apes, or dolphins, or other more noticeable species. We judge them based upon our own human standards of intelligence, which may be completely missing the point.

    Anyway, this little chimp suggests that the code would probably be pasted into your sidebar, and if you go into your admin section under Presentation>Theme editor, there may be a file titled Sidebar. It all depends upon the theme selected, and if you go to the author’s link at the bottom of this page, they may have posted more specific instructions relating to their code.

    It sounds more difficult than it actually is. 🙂

  4. Hi Greg,

    Thanks so much for your help. I’ll try it and see. If my blog suddenly looks all screwy, you’ll know why. 🙂

    And you are so right about our not really having a clue about how other species really think. As Wittgenstein said, “If a lion could talk, we would not understand him” (Philosophical Investigations).

    I think that is one reason I love interacting with animals so. When communication with them happens, it is such a thrill! It’s a small bridge built between two fundamentally different lands.

    Great to see you over here!


  5. Hey Vicki~

    Just stopped by to wish you a wonderful holiday weekend!

    I’m SOOOOO happy…the summer will officially be OVER!!!!

    Bring on the COLD!!!!!

    I’m such a “snuggle-bunny.”

    Take care Vicki,

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