This Orangutan Has Been Taught to Mimic Human Speech

By Aatif Sulleyman on at

An orangutan at Indianapolis Zoo is currently whoring itself out for treats and camera time by mimicking human speech in front of researchers.

Here it is in action.

The orangutan’s name? Rocky. No jokes needed.

It's hardly Planet of the Apes stuff, but Rocky is believed to be the first orangutan to have exhibited such behaviour. Why's it so important? As Adriano Lameria, an anthropologist from the University of Durham and the lead researcher studying Rocky, says, "This indicates that the voice control shown by humans could derive from an evolutionary ancestor with similar voice control capacities as those found in orangutans and in all great apes more generally."

Next week, we'll hear more about Ash the chimp, who's been trapping other animals in little balls and forcing them to fight each other. [New Scientist via Cnet]