At last - the column all the chimps are talking about

AT FIRST, my people wanted the full fortnight. Panabisha, they said, you are all over the Sunday papers as the first upper primate to be able to speak. This week you're hot. Next week, there could be some celebrity wedding or death; a talking bonobo chimp will be yesterday's bananas. Kington's away: go for the full fortnight at top rates.

But no. I told them to back off. The one thing you learn if you evolve in equatorial Africa is not to rush things. It has taken humans centuries to catch up with our sophisticated level of communication. To freak them out by sounding off about everything from Posh Spice to Chris Woodhead would be the height of irresponsibility.

One step at a time. I'm dealing with humans here. Let's keep it simple. A brief column, introducing myself, getting a few things off my chest, and then I'll be back to my little language lab at Georgia State University.

Have you any idea how dull that is, by the way? My natural way of life has a grace and ease of which you people can only dream: basically, we eat, swing from the trees, discuss the latest developments in philosophy and shag one another. Yet now, through some quirk of fate, I'm stuck in some God-forsaken establishment attempting to make academics (sheesh, and these are meant to be the bright ones!) understand what I say.

But you can hold those facile "Chippy Chimp In Woo-Woo Whinge" headlines. I realise that someone had to bring humans up to speed and, if it happens to be old muggins here, then so be it.

At least I'm in better shape than those luckless cousins of mine whose generous natures have been exploited down the years by an advertising company making television commercials for some ghastly brand of tea. How do I know it's ghastly? Because I can tell what they are saying when they are being filmed. "Why the bloody hell are we wearing these humiliating costumes?" "Search me. This creative director has the imaginative flair of a warthog." "Ugh, this stuff tastes like wildebeest piss."

We have fared slightly better at the hands of the so-called "primatologists". That Jane Goodall is an absolute honey - remarkably bright for a human, too. The word among the mountain gorillas was that poor old Dian Fossey was a decent sort, even if a touch eccentric. Personally, I've had it up to here with the Attenborough man and fully sympathised when, on one of his visits, a gorilla put his arm around him and whispered in his ear, "Be a good chap and sod off, will you? We've had more camera crews here than they have in Beverly Hills." Needless to say, this civilised admonition was misinterpreted as being an example of the gorilla's cuddly nature. You just can't win.

Talking of cuddliness, could I dispel a few myths about the bonobos? Human "experts" have decided that the reason why we couple with one another, regardless of age, sex and looks, is to consolidate social bonding within a group. Oh dear, is it really beyond the wit of humans to understand that we do it because we like it? You shake hands; we shag. End of story.

When I see the evolution of mankind (talk about slow, I've seen faster sloths!), it strikes me that you are, in your own muddled way, groping your way towards the bonobo model of society, with your young humans now mating in an increasingly random, meaningless and healthy fashion. This is excellent news for you, particularly when one of your own bishops announced, as happened last week, that a quick shag is no more sinful than a quick hamburger.

Your relationships, your live-in arrangements, your marriages: do they make you happy, really? Surely you must see that a brisk seeing to from a passing stranger is a more grown-up way to behave. Among the bonobos, no one gets left out, however hideous or grouchy they may be. We pass our existence in a haze of pre-coital anticipation or post-coital relaxation. I'm damned if I can see the problem here.

And, no, I'm not going to get drawn into the hunting debate. It's true that our chimpanzee cousins enjoy nothing better than a colobus hunt. I'm not saying it's fair, I'm not saying it's pretty but, by Jove, it's fun. You'll be asking whether chimpanzees actually need meat for their diet. Er no. Do you for yours? And, frankly, the jungle can offer no yummier delicacy the still warm brain of a recently killed colobus. Mm, talk about morish!

Goodness. TV, sex, violence and now cooking - you're dragging me down to your level! Seriously though, if you want any more opinions from your resident bonobo pundit, you're going to have to talk to my people.

Arts and Entertainment
Innocent victim: Oli, a 13-year-old from Cornwall, featured in ‘Kids in Crisis?’
TV review
News
Northern exposure: social housing in Edinburgh, where Hassiba now works in a takeaway
books An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment

 

film review
Arts and Entertainment
Relocation, relocation: Zawe Ashton travels the pathway to Northampton
Arts and Entertainment
BBC Three was launched a little over five years ago with the slogan: “Three, is a magic number, yes it is.”

BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital move

TV
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer

film
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Armie Hammer in the new film of ‘The Lone Ranger’

TV
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

TV
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

    Tribal gathering

    Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

    A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
    10 best trays

    Get carried away with 10 best trays

    Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
    Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

    The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
    How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

    Heavy weather

    What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
    World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

    World Bodypainting Festival 2015

    Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
    alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

    Don't call us nerds

    Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
    How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

    How to find gold

    Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
    Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

    Not born in the USA

    Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
    10 best balsamic vinegars

    10 best balsamic vinegars

    Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
    Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

    Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

    Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
    Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

    Greece referendum

    Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
    Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

    7/7 bombings anniversary

    Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
    Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

    Versace haute couture review

    Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created