Meet the Bonobos

Panbanisha, a bonobo at the Great Ape Trust in Des Moines, uses a computer monitor with more than 400 lexigrams, to speak to Liz Pugh, a researcher at the center.

After spending much of the day with Panbanisha’s brother, Kanzi and his 10-month-old son Teco, and scientist Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, Liz told me Panbanisha wanted to meet me. I watched through glass as she asked Liz for grapes and peanuts and shared a secret.

A video interview with Dr. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh – one of this year’s TIME 100 list of the world’s most influential people — can be seen here:


2 thoughts on “Meet the Bonobos

  1. As Dr. Sue says, they’re vocalizing quite a bit, and they can understand one another, with what sound to us like high-pitched squeals. But their laryngial tracts are not like ours, so they can’t speak our language in a way that we can comprehend it. But they can form complex sentences through the 400 or so lexigram images on the touch screens and laminated printouts in the lab.

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