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  1. #1
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    Default This Ape Can Cook!!

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    Kanzi, the ape who HAS learned the secret of man's red fire and loves nothing more than a good fry-up



    Eagerly he collects wood from the ground, snaps the branches into small pieces and carefully balances them in a pile. Then, taking care not to burn himself, he gently strikes a match and gets ready for a fry-up.

    Like all red-blooded males, Kanzi loves messing around with a barbecue. But then, as these extraordinary pictures show, Kanzi is no man. He is a bonobo - pygmy chimpanzee - and his love of fire is challenging the way that we think about our closest relatives in the animal kingdom.



    For although bonobo apes and larger chimpanzees use twigs and leaves as tools, none has ever shown such skill for cooking food.

    Skill with a skillet:






    After slaving over a hot stove, Kanzi the bonobo, tucks in to his creation. These pictures are the first to show a primate's skill at cooking food

    Kanzi is one of eight bonobos in the care of Dr Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, one of the world’s leading experts in ape behaviour and language. She believes 31-year-old Kanzi’s fascination with fire reveals a deep intelligence.







    Dr Savage-Rumbaugh, of the Great Ape Trust, in Des Moines, Iowa, adds: ‘Kanzi makes fire because he wants to. He used to watch the film Quest For Fire when he was very young which was about early man struggling to control fire. He watched it spellbound over and over hundreds of times.’

    He was also fascinated by the camp fires his keepers made to cook food. And he was encouraged to interact with humans and copy them. At the age of five, he was making small piles of bone dry sticks.





    Hunter-gatherer: Kanzi carries his barbie in a backpack (left) before finding some dry wood and breaking it down to size in much the same way a human would..






    Intelligent cooking: The pygmy chimpanzee searches for the perfect site for a camp fire then carefully piles sticks onto a bed of dry leave

    He was taught to use matches, a skill he picked up quickly. Theres something eerie about watching Kanzi strike a match. The way he then holds the flame - taking care not to burn himself - is remarkably human.

    Fire is one of the most important factors in our evolution, says Dr Savage-Rumbaugh.

    When humans learned to control fire and to domesticate dogs we began to feel a new level of safety which freed us to become creative and to create more sophisticated cultures.

    Fire enabled us to cook meat, which helped break it down and meant we could eat more of it. Plants we cooked on fires were made more digestible. In short, cooking led us to eating , which meant we developed large brains.

    We sat around in communal groups cooking, stoking and simply watching the fire - a situation in which language and conversation started to develop.



    ...being a human...



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