Thursday, December 24, 2015

Turnaround is Fair Play

    This month’s edition of the Journal of Simian Anthropology included the publication of a groundbreaking study underwritten by the Idyll-Beast Research Center. “Cryptid Infiltration of a Hominid Population in the San Jacinto Mountains” was described by its author as a...
“noninvasive interdisciplinary study of the cognitive and communicative capabilities"
…of a community most readers will recognize.

    This researcher has become known as “Idyll-Beast Goodall.”  Resemblances between the Beast and the eponymous primatologist have left some accusing Idy of stealing her Curriculum Vitae from Jane Goodall’s Wikipedia page. The CV recounts that as a beastling, her parents gave her a lifelike human doll; neighbors worried it would cause nightmares, but instead it was the beginning of a lifelong fascination with other primates.
    She became perhaps the first Idyll-Beast ever accepted into a human society. The animal served 26 months as a Member of the Board of Directors of the local Chamber of Commerce, first appointed and then elected. As the lowest ranking animal in the troop she staffed the Chamber visitor center, answering phone calls and e-mails, and participated in grooming rituals called “Board Meetings.”

    Living among humans, she began to identify individuals. giving them names: Fifi, Fido, Spot, Bowser, a controversial practice held by critics as reducing objectivity. And just as Goodall has expressed belief in or fascination with Sasquatch or Yeti, Idyll-Beast expresses a belief in or fascination with Jane Goodall. And certainly the two seem to employ similar techniques, for better or worse:
Offering them snacks they become more accustomed to my presence, lose their natural shyness. Actually this species is not that shy. Some walk right up and begin petting you. This makes me think that they have been previously domesticated. I understand that they have repeatedly attempted to domesticate one another, to treat each other as beasts of burden. They are a kind of expert in the sphere of domestication, and with certain exceptions, specifically the cat, tend to bamboozle or ambush the other species into exploitative relationships. Even within the species, and even within their “domestic” relations, these sometimes violent tendencies can be observed….

…The exchange of food “gifts” and sharing of discovered snacking fodder seems important to them, as in the other chimps. Obviously mothers have the first part in this, Dad brings home the bacon, and the concept of sharing is part of the sibling relation and is crucial to the forming of alliances, including courtship. What could be more important to communal living and family life than table manners? Eating with another animal makes you generally well disposed to them, if they have good manners. They consider the teaching of manners to dogs an art form, and hold competitions…

Upcoming publications include an article in the Journal of Speculative Primatology, co-written with Noam Chimpsky and Kanzi.
Keep warm people. Good luck on your research, and Happy Hollidays