Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Project Nim Documentary: A Chimp Raised Like A Human

November 1973: A baby chimpanzee is born in a cage at a primate research center in Oklahoma. A few days later, his mother is knocked down by a tranquilizer dart, her screaming baby seized from her and placed into the waiting arms of his new human “mother,” a graduate student of psychology with three children of her own. Thus begins "Project Nim" arguably the most radical experiment of its kind, which aimed to show that a chimpanzee could learn to communicate with language if raised and nurtured like a human child. Under the auspices of a psychology professor at Columbia University, the chimp would be taught the sign language of the deaf and it was hoped he would soon acquire enough words and grammar to tell us what he was thinking and feeling. If successful, the consequences would be profound, forever breaking down the barrier between man and his closest animal relative and fundamentally redefining what it is to be human.

More info on Project NIM here.

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