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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Weekend Randomness: I can be people too!

Update: According to magical internet statistics last week's post on the penguin theft from Dublin Zoo  was pretty popular with you guys so I've decided to make Weekend Randomness a weekly feature. Tell me what you guys think in the comments section.

One of the suprising things you find while searching the web on the trawl for the best in international news is the sheer volume of random and brilliantly unique events that happen every day on this crazy planet of ours. But the story that particularly caught my eye this week was that of a pack of gorillas which began making the rounds on Wednesday.

Dr. Davila Ross has a job that most of us would envy, and probably as rare as a social dialectologist. Dr. Ross is an expert in primates with specific focus on play and leisure. Over the past three years she has spearheaded a study into a simple game of chasing (or tag in American) between a group of gorillas in 5 different European zoos.

The study reveals that gorillas display signs of instinctual human behaviour during the typical child's game. They cheat! If two gorillas are chasing each other one will push the other and then run away to get an advantage. More so than this brilliant nugget of information (worth the 3 years of studying it took to get) gorillas are also aware of the strength of a push or shove and will react accordingly. They also amazingly will in fact switch roles when tagged so the chaser will become the chasee and vice versa.

The scientists will tell you that this playful gaming  help test the waters of normal social conduct such as when does a shove stop being playful and become a threat. They will also tell you that such games will help with communication skills between the group.

But I believe this study raises further questions.  Do gorillas cry to their mothers when they are pushed to hard on the playground? Is their gorilla speak for, "He started it"?  If a gorilla goes on a long journey will they ask for ice cream at every garage and constantly cry, "Are we there yet?", to their beleaguered parents?  I live in hope these answers are forthcoming.


  1. Dr. Davila Ross's parents must be so proud of her after all the money they spent on her and all her hard work at university.Mum, dad guess what. Monkeys play tag..........

  2. Well if she makes a living then who is to knock her? I mean she still has lots of work left she could be doing. I want answers to everything I have listed in my paragraph.

  3. Thanks and keep up the great work!

    Common Cents

  4. What a wonderful job that would be. Nice read.

  5. I think its only beaten by professional ice cream tasters! Thanks for reading everyone.