Friday, March 02, 2007

Orangutans closer to human than we thought.

Orangutans are like chimpanzees and gorillas in being very close relatives of humans in the animal kingdom. The one in the picture to the left looks so human it is like a person in a suit.

Actually this cute picture shows a zoo worker dressed as an orangutan after being shot with a tranquilizer dart in an animal escape drill. Seems the zoo worker must be a really good sport. The zoo is in Western Tokyo. From the caption:
"A zoo worker dressed as an orangutan falls after being "shot" by another zoo worker with a simulated tranquiliser dart as part of an animal escape drill at a zoo in western Tokyo February 27, 2007. Zoo workers practiced surrounding the escapee with nets before pretending to shoot it with a tranquilising dart and returning it to its enclosure."
I recommend also reading Next by Michael Crichton. The books is a very quick read, but is entertaining and discusses the implications of genetic testing, genetic research, and cloning. Several of the themes in the book deal with animal-human chimeras and whether they are possible. One entertaining scene involves a talking orangutan - it curses in dutch and french - not Japanese like the one above. We never find out conclusively if it is a genetic experiment (probably) or somehow evolved naturally. He gets tranquilizes just like the poor guy above.

(via BoingBoing)

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