Sunday, August 8, 2010

Intelligent Bonobo Declared Moron

Researchers at the Great Ape Trust have reclassified Kanzi, a 29 year-old bonobo raised with language since birth, from “cognizant, intelligent, and capable of forming complex sentences” to “complete moron” after a round of Hasbro’s board game Catch Phrase.

Tyler Romine, the Trust’s lab supervisor, was assigned to be Kanzi’s partner in the game, which requires players to describe a word in order for their partner to guess it. “I figured it would be a great display of Kanzi’s ability to understand multi-part ideas. Turns out I would have been better paired with my wife’s comatose brother.”

In the final round of the game, after Kanzi successfully guessed fourteen of Romine’s clues, Romine envisioned victory over researchers Dennis Lamb and Rebecca Cobb. “I got the Catch Phrase thing and the buzzer was speeding up. My word was ‘Shakespeare’ and I knew there was no way in hell he’d know who that was, so I skipped it and got ‘door knob,’ which I figured was a hole-in-one. Turns out the only clues I could count on were ‘banana’ or ‘shit-covered bonobo fingers.’”

“I described it as the thing you use to open a barrier between two rooms and I even repeatedly mimed the motion and he just stared blankly at me like an idiot and pointed to the ‘handle’ graphic over and over like it would somehow get more correct every time he pointed to it. The buzzer ran out and we lost. It was unbelievable.”

Efforts to teach Kanzi more words ceased immediately and he is now being used to test experimental enemas.

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