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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Gothic revival: artist Dave McKean’s poster for Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
Exhibition
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard has left the Great British Bake Off 2014

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live

TV
Arts and Entertainment
TVDessert week was full of the usual dramas as 'bingate' ensued
Arts and Entertainment
Clara and the twelfth Doctor embark on their first adventure together
TVThe regulator received six complaints on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Arts and Entertainment
David Baddiel concedes his show takes its inspiration from the hit US series 'Modern Family'
comedyNew comedy festival out to show that there’s more to Jewish humour than rabbi jokes
Arts and Entertainment
Puff Daddy: One Direction may actually be able to use the outrage to boost their credibility

music
Arts and Entertainment
Suha Arraf’s film ‘Villa Touma’ (left) is set in Ramallah and all the actresses are Palestinian

film
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Carell in the poster for new film 'Foxcatcher'
filmExclusive: First look at comic actor in first major serious role
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Kingston Road in Stockton is being filmed for the second series of Benefits Street
arts + entsFilming for Channel 4 has begun despite local complaints
Arts and Entertainment
Led Zeppelin

music
Arts and Entertainment
Radio presenter Scott Mills will be hitting the Strictly Come Dancing ballroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce performs in front of a Feminist sign at the MTV VMAs 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has taken home the prize for Video of the Year at the MTV Video Music Awards 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Paige and Scott Lowell in Queer as Folk (Season 5)
tvA batch of shows that 'wouldn't get past a US network' could give tofu sales an unexpected lift
Arts and Entertainment
books... but seller will be hoping for more
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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.

    Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

    The phoney war is over

    Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
    From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

    Salomé: A head for seduction

    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
    From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

    British Library celebrates all things Gothic

    Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
    The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

    Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

    The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

    In search of Caribbean soul food

    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
    11 best face powders

    11 best face powders

    Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
    England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
    Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
    Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

    Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

    Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
    Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

    Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

    The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
    America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

    America’s new apartheid

    Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone