The recent release of “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" reminded me of one of my favorite ape vs. man films – this 1932 video that shows a baby chimpanzee and a baby human undergoing the same basic psychological tests.
Its gets weirder – the human baby (Donald) and the chimpanzee baby (Gua) were both raised as humans by their biological/adopted father Winthrop Niles Kellogg. Kellogg was a comparative psychologist fascinated by the interplay between nature and nurture, and he devised a fascinating (and questionably ethical) experiment to study it:
Suppose an anthropoid were taken into a typical human family at the day of birth and reared as a child. Suppose he were fed upon a bottle, clothed, washed, bathed, fondled, and given a characteristically human environment; that he were spoken to like the human infant from the moment of parturition; that he had an adopted human mother and an adopted human father.
First, Kellogg had to convince his pregnant wife he wasn’t crazy:
…the enthusiasm of one of us met with so much resistance from the other that it appeared likely we could never come to an agreement upon whether or not we should even attempt such an undertaking.
She apparently gave in, because Donald and Gua were raised, for nine months, as brother and sister. Much like Caesar in the “Planet of the Apes” movies, Gua developed faster than her “brother,” and often outperformed him in tasks. But she soon hit a cognitive wall, and the experiment came to an end. (Probably for the best, as Donald had begun to speak chimpanzee.)
every achievement in cinema history has led up to this moment
#that time that michael jordan retired from basketball to play baseball #and then was bad at baseball so went back to basketball #and in order to celebrate his return to basketball #we made a movie in which he teams up with 50 year old cartoon characters #to defeat the space aliens who magically stole the mojo of other famous basketball players #and planned to kidnap these 50 year old cartoon characters #so the cartoon characters who literally never played basketball in any of their cartoons #were like clearly the only way to settle this is with a game of basketball #and just when all hope seems lost #bill murray who has literally only been in one other scene in the movie #shows up completely without explanation #and no one questions it #and doesn’t even do anything to help the team like he literally just shows up to pass the ball to michael #and then michael jordan slam dunks the ball from half court to win the game #and someone in hollywood read that script #and was like yes perfect no changes need to be made let’s get this project going #i don’t believe in god #but i do believe in space jam
I too believe in Space Jam
Now, what’s the difference between an invisible, incorporeal, floating dragon who spits heatless fire and no dragon at all? If there’s no way to disprove my contention, no conceivable experiment that would count against it, what does it mean to say that my dragon exists? Your inability to invalidate my hypothesis is not at all the same thing as proving it true. Claims that cannot be tested, assertions immune to disproof are veridically worthless, whatever value they may have in inspiring us or in exciting our sense of wonder. What I’m asking you to do comes down to believing, in the absence of evidence, on my say-so.Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark (via thedragoninmygarage)
and thats Sagan style