Nim Chimpsky The Chimp Who Would Be Human

ISBN-10: 0553382772
ISBN-13: 9780553382778
Edition: 2009
Authors: Elizabeth Hess
List price: $16.00 Buy it from $3.00
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Description: Could an adorable chimpanzee raised from infancy by a human family bridge the gap between speciesand change the way we think about the boundaries between the animal and human worlds? Here is the strange and moving account of an experiment intended  More...

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Book details

List price: $16.00
Copyright year: 2009
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/30/2008
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 384
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.880
Language: English

Could an adorable chimpanzee raised from infancy by a human family bridge the gap between speciesand change the way we think about the boundaries between the animal and human worlds? Here is the strange and moving account of an experiment intended to answer just those questions, and the astonishing biography of the chimp who was chosen to see it through. Dubbed Project Nim, the experiment was the brainchild of Herbert S. Terrace, a psychologist at Columbia University. His goal was to teach a chimpanzee American Sign Language in order to refute Noam Chomsky's assertion that language is an exclusively human trait. Nim Chimpsky, the baby chimp at the center of this ambitious, potentially groundbreaking study, was "adopted" by one of Dr. Terrace's graduate students and brought home to live with her and her large family in their elegant brownstone on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. At first Nim's progress in learning ASL and adapting to his new environment exceeded all expectations. His charm, mischievous sense of humor, and keen, sometimes shrewdly manipulative understanding of human nature endeared him to everyone he met, and even led to guest appearances onSesame Street,where he was meant to model good behavior for toddlers. But no one had thought through the long-term consequences of raising a chimp in the human world, and when funding for the study ran out, Nim's problems began. Over the next two decades, exiled from the people he loved, Nim was rotated in and out of various facilities. It would be a long time before this chimp who had been brought up to identify with his human caretakers had another opportunity to blow out the candles on a cake celebrating his birthday. No matter where he was sent, however, Nim's hard-earned ability to converse with humans would prove to be his salvation, protecting him from the fate of many of his peers. Drawing on interviews with the people who lived with Nim, diapered him, dressed him, taught him, and loved him, Elizabeth Hess weaves an unforgettable tale of an extraordinary and charismatic creature. His story will move and entertain at the same time that it challenges us to ask what it means to be human, and what we owe to the animals who so enrich our lives. From the Hardcover edition.

Elizabeth Hess is a former art critic and columnist for The Village Voice. A freelance journalist, hundreds of her articles have appeared in The Washington Post, New York, Art in America, Artforum, Art News, The New York Observer, and Ms. She lives in New York City and East Chatham, New York.

Prologue: The Unexpected Birth of Nim Chimpsky
Introduction: Chimps Are Us
Project Nim: New York City
Early Days on the Chimp Farm
Launching Project Nim
"Brady Bunch-Plus Chimp"
Trouble in the Family
The Master of Delafield
"Pull Tickle"
The Institute for Primate Studies: Norman, Oklahoma
Meanwhile, Back on the Farm
Captivity
Becoming a Norman Chimp
The Fall of IPS
Inside LEMSIP
Sanctuary: Murchison, Texas
The Black Beauty Ranch
When Nim Met Sally
Where They Are Now
Notes
Bibliography
Acknowledgments
Photo Credits and Permissions
Index

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