Thursday, July 17, 2008

Tool Use in Baby Primates

When I was a kid, my parents wasted a lot of money on piano lessons for me and my equally talentless sisters. We went through many teachers, which is why I feel safe in mentioning the story to follow on my blog. (Well, that and also that my readership consists of about 15 family members).

One of my piano teachers had several children, all of whom looked exactly like gorillas. It was erie. And you know how babies and toddlers handle toys and objects--just like little primates, so the kids really did reinforce the idea that they were apes. It was a little bit their own fault. I always laughed to myself while my teacher and I both endured my 30 minute lesson that I was in Gorillas in the Mist. At one of our recitals/public shaming for not practicing, my sisters and mom and I were watching one of the baby gorillas playing with a toy in such a way as to provoke my mom to comment: "Look, girls, tool use in lower primates!"

I was reminded of this personal history the other day when my own little primate demonstrated some tool use of his own variety. My mom keeps a heavy supply of candy in her house. It is part of the food storage, I think. Andrew kept getting into it, so we had to put it up on the highest shelves. The other day she walked in on Andrew, who was stowed away in the pantry with a mouth full of chocolate. He also had candies in both hands. At his feet was a broom with a very long handle.

"It's ok Nana! I just have one. Two. Two because I am two!"

He has used the broom on another two occassions to knock the candy down to the floor. Yes, we are very proud.


Jenny said...

What a funny story (both about Andrew and your Gorillas in the Mist experiences!). It's so true--J and I were just at the zoo yesterday and I was so struck by how much the little monkeys reminded me of J and the way he plays and uses his hands.

How are you liking Oakton? We are moving back there in just 3 weeks!

Shlee said...

Priceless. I had a counselor at EFY once who resembled Koko the Gorilla. So that's how my friend and I referred to him. I'm quite sure my journal entries from that trip only mentioned Koko, as if it were his real name. I can only hope that future historians will be utterly confused when they unearth my journal.