Charles Siebert

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It's common to hear, in the wake of someone’s sudden lethal outburst, exclamations of shock along the lines of: “He seemed so pleasant and mild-mannered.” “She never bothered anyone.” But when those same sentiments are voiced in the aftermath of a chimpanzee attack like the one in Stamford, Conn., last month — in which a pet chimp named Travis mauled a woman, robbing her of her hands, eyesight and much of her face, and possibly causing brain damage — they raise serious questions about us, the primates with the so-called higher cognitive functions.

There is something about chimpanzees — their tantalizing closeness to us in both appearance and genetic detail — that has always driven human beings to behavioral extremes, actions that reflect a deep discomfort with our own animality, and invariably turn out bad for both us and them.…  Seguir leyendo »