Autistic Ape? He’s charming and wonderful and we love him, but he is different

15 Apr

“He’s charming and wonderful and we love him, but he is different”. So says a researcher discussing Teco, a Bonobo in an article by Sarah DeWeerdt at the Simons Foundation SFARI blog. Here are the first couple of paragraphs:

Similarities between us and our closest ape relatives — chimpanzees and bonobos — have shaped our understanding of what it means to be human. The latest surprise is Teco, a young bonobo who shows behaviors that look suspiciously similar to those associated with autism.

Teco is the son of Kanzi, a 30-year-old bonobo whose use of symbols to communicate with humans made him famous. The two live with five other bonobos at the Great Ape Trust, a nonprofit research institute in Des Moines, Iowa, that is the site of a long-term study on ape language and culture.

Is Teco something akin to autistic? There’s really not enough information in the article to say, but it is still an excellent read.

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9 Responses to “Autistic Ape? He’s charming and wonderful and we love him, but he is different”

  1. Red Headphones April 16, 2011 at 01:24 #

    Did you see the trailer for the Rise of the Planet of the Apes….

  2. McD April 16, 2011 at 05:47 #

    This is absolutely fascinating. An autistic Bonobo! This could really expand research horizons in a number of directions. Very exciting!

    I really hope someone shoves this up the nose of all those people who say that Autism ‘takes away’ that which makes us HUMAN.

    Kanzi has been so interesting to follow, it is amazing that he has an autistic son. I had always suspected that Kanzi’s amazing language progress was due to his very early exposure as an infant while his mum was undergoing language training (same with his sister). But what if, just suppose, Kanzi was a Bonobo version of Aspergers? with Aspie verbal skills?

  3. Catherina April 17, 2011 at 14:25 #

    I bet he was vaccinated 😉

  4. stanley seigler April 18, 2011 at 21:09 #

    [Catherina] I bet he was vaccinated 😉

    i have a friend who swears his dog is autistic…the dog avoids eye contact; doesn’t speak (bark); doesn’t wag it tail and had been vaccinated…well dewormed…and friend believes the cause is dog was born under a full moon.

    stanley seigler

  5. Claudia April 19, 2011 at 14:56 #

    Please Catherina, that has been proven without a doubt to be a falsehood, that vaccinations are linked to Autisum. Time to get over that one.

    • Kev April 19, 2011 at 15:50 #

      She was joking Claudia 😉

  6. stanley seigler April 19, 2011 at 17:16 #

    [kev say] She was joking

    as was i re autistic dog…

    stanley seigler

  7. Fascinating April 16, 2016 at 22:18 #

    One of the smartest Bonobos (Kanzi) has gave birth to an autistic child. That doesn’t seem like just a coincidence, there is a known connection between what makes a person a genius and exhibiting autistic traits. I would recommend to keep an eye on Teco, he might be even smarter then his father.

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