I think the fact that Nim initiated conversation is a sign that the animal had learned to communicate. However, I don’t think that is the primary lesson behind the readings. I think it is appalling that someone would be able to take a chimp away from its mother, raise it as a human, and then place it back into a system designed for animals. I personally don’t believe there is anything we need to learn that we would have to abuse animals in order to do so. I understand there was a time when people didn’t know what they were doing and the Nim story may fall into that category but I hope we can all learn from stories like these. Furthermore, I think learning to understand animal language would be just as useful and would be way less harmful than forcing animals to learn our language. I think people should pay more attention to understanding nature than trying to force nature to fit into our ideas of what is right, wrong, and proper.
September 29, 2013