March 14, 2008

Monkeys in People Clothes

This is a drawing. Therefore it is not actually endangered.I came across this article at Ars Technica today, which summarizes a recent paper in the journal Science written by several leading primatologists (including that Jane Goodall tramp).

The gist of the paper is that the frequent appearance of chimpanzees in the media misleads the public into believing that chimpanzees are not an endangered species. The authors asked survey respondents to look at pictures of various great ape species and identify which was endangered. Although almost all respondents correctly identified gorillas and orangutans as endangered, only 66% of respondents identified chimpanzees as an endangered species. When pressed for followup as to why they thought chimpanzees weren't endangered, the most common response was that their prevalence in the media was an indication that they were doing just fine.

The journal article goes on to assert that it's not just the appearance of chimpanzees in media, but specifically their appearance as caricatures that is the cause of all this. I'm guessing they're on to something. It seems true that if you see a chimpanzee on TV or in a magazine, it will more often than not be wearing people clothes. And chimpanzees wear people clothes far more often than all other primates put together.

Now, I've got to admit that I'm the world's greatest advocate for monkeys in people clothes (the word monkeys used here generically to mean all great apes and lower order primates). However, because of my strong stand on monkeys vis-à-vis clothes, I feel a little bit of responsibility to ensure that I'm not unwittingly undermining the efforts to protect these creatures that God so generously provided for our amusement. I hereby resolve from here on out to no longer display any depiction of any primate wearing people clothes without some sort of explanation of that primate's status as an endangered species. I believe strongly that it's now my duty every time I display a monkey in people clothes to warn other people that if they appreciate monkeys in people clothes, they will need to support conservation and protection efforts so that we may always have plentiful supplies of monkeys to dress in people clothes now and for generations to come.

1 comment:

Captain Emus said...

How can they possibly be endangered? Who is hunting chimps? Are there cartels of monkey killers that ruthlessly slaughter the population so they can sell their oversized chimp lips on the asian black market? Seriously, wouldn't you think the world would be flush with chimps? Apart from dolphins, chimps have to be the most loveable of all of the non-domesticated animals. Well, penguins are probably up there too, with their cute waddle and Darwininan tuxedoes.

Forget Tibet, save the chimps.