from: Radick, Gregory. 2000. Morgan's canon, Garner's phonograph, and
the evolutionary origins of language and reason. Journal of the History
of the Behavioral Sciences 33(1): 3-23
Harvey, Neil. 2004. The Man Who Talked to Monkeys. The Roanoke Times
|Introduction.||by Edward E. Hale|
|Chapter I.||Monkeys, Apes, and Men - Comparative Anatomy - Skulls - The Law of Cranial Projection|
|Chapter II.||Early Impression - What is Speech - First Efforts - The Phonograph - The First Record of Monkey Speech - Monkey Words - Phonetics - Human Speech and Monkey Speech|
|Chapter III.||Monkey Friends - Jokes - The Sound of Alarm - Jennie|
|Chapter IV.||Monkey Ethics - Sense of Color - Monkeys Enumerate - First Principles of Art|
|Chapter V.||Pedro's Speech Recorded - Delivered to Puck through the Phonograph - Little Darwin Learns a New Word|
|Chapter VI.||Five Little Brown Cousins, Mickie, McGinty, Nemo, Dodo,and Nigger- Nemo Apologizes to Dodo|
|Chapter VII.||Meeting with Nellie - Nellie was my Guest - Her Speech and Manners - Helen Keller and Nellie - One of Nellie's Friends - Her Sight and Hearing - Her Toys and how She Played with Them|
|Chapter VIII.||Caged in an African Jungle - The Cage and its Contents - Its Location - Its Purpose - The Jungle - The Great Forest - Its Grandeur - Its Silence|
|Chapter IX.||Daily Life and Scenes in the Jungle - How I Passed the Time - What I Had to Eat - How it was Prepared - How I Slept - My Chimpanzee Companion|
|Chapter X.||The Chimpanzee - The Name - Two Species - The Kulu-Kamba Distribution - Color and Complexion|
|Chapter XI.||Physical Qualities of the Chimpanzee - His Social Habits - Mental Characteristics|
|Chapter XII.||The Speech of Chimpanzees - A New System of Phonetic Symbols - Some Common Words - Gestures|
|Chapter XIV.||The Character of Moses- He Learns a Human Word- He Signs - His Name to a Document - His Illness- Death|
|Chapter XV.||Aaron - His Capture - Mental powers - Acquaintance with Moses - His Conduct during Moses' Illness|
|Chapter XVI.||Aaron and Elisheba - Their Characteristics - Anecdotes - Jealousy of Aaron|
|Chapter XVII.||Illness of Elisheba - Aaron's Care of Her - Her Death - Illness and Death of Aaron|
|Chapter XVIII.||Other Chimpanzees - The Village Pet - A Chimpanzee as Diner-Out - Notable Specimens in Captivity|
|Chapter XIX.||Other Kulu-Kambas - A Knotty Problem - Instinct or Reason - Various Types|
|Chapter XX.||The Gorilla- His Habitat Skeleton - Skull - Color - Structural Peculiarities|
|Chapter XXI.||Habits of the Gorilla - Social Traits - Government - Justice - Mode of Attack - Screaming and Beating - Food|
|Chapter XXII.||Othello and Other Gorillas - Othello and Moses - Gorilla Visitors - Gorilla Mother and Child - Scarcity of Gorillas - Unauthentic Tales|
|Chapter XXIII.||Other Apes - The Apes in History - Habitat - The Orangs - The Gibbon|
|Chapter XXIV.||The Treatment of Apes in Captivity - Temperature - Building - Food - Occupation|
The favorable conditions under which the writer has been placed, in the study of these animals in the freedom of their native jungle, have not hitherto been enjoyed by any other student of nature.
A careful aim to avoid all technical terms and scientific phraseology has been studiously adhered to, and the subject is treated in the simplest style consistent with its dig nity. Tedious details are relieved by an ample supply of anecdotes taken from the writer's own observations. Most of the acts related are those of his own pets. A few of them are of apes in a wild state. The author has carefully refrained from abstruse theories or rash deductions, but has sought to place the animals here treated of in the light to which their own conduct entitles them, allowing the reader to draw his own conclusions.
The author frankly confesses to his own belief in the psychic unity of all animate nature. Believing in a common source of life, a common law of living, and a common destiny for all creatures, he feels that to dignify the apes is not to degrade man but rather to exalt him.
Believing that a more perfect knowledge of these ani mals will bring man into closer fellowship and deeper sympathy with nature, and with an abiding trust that it will widen the bounds of humanity and cause man to realize that he and they are but common links in the one great chain of life, the author gives this work to the world. When once man is impressed with the consciousness that in some degree, however small, all creatures think and feel, it will lessen his vanity and ennoble his heart.
I write these lines, not so much to explain what the book is as to introduce Mr. Garner himself to people who do not know him, that they may thank him for the step forward which he has made and is making.
It is hardly half a century since one of the highest authorities in the Church of England told us that animals have no rights whatever, and that men should be kind to them simply for the reason that it was desirable that men should improve their own characters. If I tied a tin pail to a dog's tail, I injured my character. If I patted the dog on the head, I improved my character. "See all things for my use," -- this was really the motto of a book of ethics somewhat famous in its day.
Happily the world has lived beyond such a crusty selfishness as this, -- happily, perhaps, not for mankind only. Happily for our thought of the universe in which we live, men have found out that they have duties towards animals as they have duties towards each other, -- say that in a certain sense we are the Gods of animals, to whom they look up as we look up to our Father in heaven; let us, at least, treat them as we would be treated.
How shall we do this? How shall we come at some understanding of their life, of their needs, of their hopes and fears? How can we be just to them?
Mr. Garner has set to work in this business with sys tematic perseverance and a real comprehension of the position. Of all the inferior animals, these monkeys and apes, it seems, have more machinery for thought, if I may use so clumsy an expression, than have any others. The book will tell the reader why it is easier to come at some notion of the language of the Capuchin monkey than it is to apprehend the method by which the horse communicates with the horse, or the blackbird with the blackbird. With scientific precision, Mr. Garner has availed himself of this fact, is availing himself of it at the moment when I write. He has selected animals, which are certainly animals and not men. He has selected these as those where his study can be precise, and where it is most easy to arrive at correct conclusions ; and it is not in the study merely of speech and of listening; it is study of what I may call the principles which underlie animal life, to which this explorer in a new field has devoted himself. The reader of this book will understand why it is that he gives up years of life to such society as that his dear little Moses gave him; why he plunges into
The multitudinous abyssthat he may come at some of the secrets of those beings who are at home there.
Where nature joys in secret bliss,
Mr. Garner does not ask himself, and I do not propose that the reader shall ask, what changes may ensue in the trade of the world from his discovery. He does not pretend that there will be more palm oil, or more Manila hemp, because we understand monkeys and apes and gorillas and orangs better than our fathers. But he believes, and those who have followed him with sympathy believe, that we shall know more of ourselves, that we shall know more of the universe in which we live, that we shall know more of God, the I Am, who is the life of this universe, than our fathers knew, if this brave explorer is able to carry on farther such investigations as this book describes.
May his life be prolonged for such study; it has been long enough now for us to owe him a large debt of gratitude for the lifelong sacrifice and determination with which he has prosecuted these studies thus far.
In order to appreciate more fully the value of the lessons to be drawn from the contents of this volume we must know the relative planes that men and monkeys occupy in the scale of nature. Within the limits of this work, however, we can only compare them in a general way. Since monkeys differ so widely among themselves, it is evident that all of them cannot in the same degree resemble man; and as the degree of interest in them is approximately measured by their likeness or unlikeness to man, it is apparent that all cannot be of equal interest as subjects of comparative study. But since each forms an integral part of one great scale, each one is equally important in tracing out the continuity of the order to which all belong.
The vast family of simians has perhaps the widest range of types of any single family of animals. Beginning with the great apes, which in size, form, and structure so closely resemble man, we descend the scale until it ends in the lemurs, which are almost on the level of rodents. The descent is so gradual that it is difficult to draw a line of demarcation at any point between the two extremes. There is now, however, an effort being made to separate this family into smaller and more distinct groups; but the lines between them are not sharply drawn, and the literature of the past has a tendency to retard the effort. But we shall not here assume to discuss the problems with which zoology may in the future have to contend; we shall accept the current system of classification and proceed along that line.
In the language of the masses all the varied types that belong to the simian family are known as monkeys. This term is so broad in its application as to include many forms which are not to be considered in this work, and many of them should be known under other names. Some of these resemble man more than they resemble each other. By the word monkey, we mean to refer only to those of the simian tribe that have long tails and short faces, while the word baboon refers only to the dog-like forms having tails of medium length and long projecting faces. The term ape will be applied only to those having no tails at all. While all of these animals are called simians, they are not all monkeys.
The simian family is divided into two great classes, known as old world monkeys and new world monkeys. The chief point of distinction is in the structure of the nose. All of the monkeys belonging to the old world stock have long, straight noses with vertical nostrils, separated by a narrow thin wall, or septum, and from this fact they are technically known as catarrhini. The new world stock have short, flat noses with oblique nostrils set wide apart, and on this account they are known as platarrhini. There are many other marks that distinguish genera and species, but these are the two grand divisions of the simian race. We shall not here attempt to classify the many genera and species of either of these divisions. But we shall point out some of the most salient anatomical features of men and apes, and then those of monkeys.
Among the simians, erroneously called monkeys, are the four kinds that constitute the anthropoid, or manlike, group of apes. In certain respects they differ from each other as much as any one of them differs from man. The four apes here alluded to and named in the order of their physical resemblance to man arc: the gorilla, the chimpanzee, the orang, and the gibbon; but if placed in the order of their mental and social characteristics they stand as follows: the chimpanzee, which is next to man, the gorilla, the gibbon, and, last, the orang. It is possible, however, that it may yet be found that the gibbon is intellectually the highest of this group.
As the skeleton is the framework of the physical structure, it will serve for the basis upon which to build up the comparisons; and as, on the whole, the chimpanzee is the nearest approach to man, we select and use him as the standard of comparison. The skeleton of the chimpanzee may be said to be an exact duplicate of that of man. The assertion, however, should be qualified by a few facts of minor importance; but since they are facts, they should not be ignored. The general plan, purpose, and structure of the skeletons of man and chimpanzee are the same. There is no part of the one which is not duplicated in the other, and there is no function discharged by any part of the one that is not discharged by a like part of the other. The chief point in which they differ is in the structure of one bone. To this we shall pay special attention.
Near the base of the spinal column is a large compound bone, known as the sacrum. It is a constituent part of the column, but in its singular form and structure it differs slightly from the corresponding bone in man. The general outline of this bone has the form of an isosceles triangle. It fits in between the two large bones that spread out towards the hips and articulate with the thigh bones. In man, about halfway between the center and the edge along each side is a row of four nearly round holes. Across the surface of the bone is a dim, transverse line, or seam, between each pair of holes, from which it is seen that five smaller sections of the spinal column have anchylosed, or grown together, to form the sacrum. The holes coincide with the open spaces between the transverse processes, or lateral projections, of the other bones of the spinal column
above this. In the chimpanzee this bone has the same general form as
in man, except that instead of four holes in each row it has five. They
are connected by transverse seams the same as in man, thus indicating that
six of the vertebrae, instead of five, are united. In compensation for
this, the ape has one vertebra less in the portion of the spinal column
just above, which is called the lumbar. In man there are five free lumbar
vertebrae and five united sections of the sacrum, while in the ape there
are only four free lumbar vertebrae and six united sections forming the
sacrum. But regarding each section of the sacrum as a separate bone and
counting the whole number of vertebrae in the spinal column there are found
to be exactly the same number in each.
Some writers have put great stress upon the difference in the structure of this bone, and have pointed out as impossible a common origin for man and ape; but one fact remains to be explained, and that is, that while these appear to be fixed and constant characteristics of man and ape there are many exceptions known in human anatomy. In the splendid collection of human spinal columns in the museum of the Harvard Medical School are no less than eighteen specimens of the human sacrum having six united segments; and I have found in the collections of various museums a total of more than thirty others. These facts show that this characteristic is not confined to the ape. It is true that in some of these abnormal specimens there remain five lumbar vertebra;. This seems to indicate that this portion of the spinal column is the most susceptible to variation. I have never seen an instance, however, of variation in the sacrum of the chimpanzee. In this respect he appears to be, in his structural type, more constant than man.
One reason why this bone is so formed in the ape is this. At that point the greatest weight and strain are laid upon the spinal column, and the crouching habit of the animal has a tendency to depress the lowest lumbar vertebra between the points of the hip bones and thus arrest its lateral movement. Since the flexure of this part is lessened, the cartilage that hes between the two segments becomes rigid and then ossifies. The erect posture of man allows more play in the region of the loins, and hence this motion prevents the two bones from uniting.
Another bone that may be said to vary somewhat is the sternum, or breastbone. It is the thin, soft bone to which the ribs are joined in the front of the body. In the young of both man and ape it is a mere cartilage. This slowly ossifies as the animal matures. The process appears to begin at five different segments, the first nucleus appearing near the top. This bone never becomes quite perfect either in man or ape. It always remains somewhat porous, and even in advanced age the outline of the lower portion is not defined by a smooth, sharp line, but is irregular in contour and merges into the cartilages that unite the ribs to it.
In an adult human being this bone is usually found to be in two segments, while in the ape it varies. In some specimens it is the same as in man. In others it is sometimes found to be in three, four, or even five sections. But the sternum in each is regarded as one bone, and is developed from one continuous cartilage. The separate parts are not considered distinct bones. The reason, no doubt, that this bone remains in separate sections in the ape is due to the stooping habit of the animal, by which the part is constantly flexed and alternately straightened, and therefore discharges its function better than it otherwise could.
With these trifling exceptions the skeletons of man and ape may be truly said to be exact counterparts of each other, having the same number of bones, of the same general model, arranged in the same order, articulated in the same manner, and performing the same functions. In other words, the corresponding bone in each is the same in design and purpose. The frame of the ape is, as a rule, more massive in its proportions than that of man; but while this is true of certain kinds of apes, the reverse is true of others.
In man the sacrum is more curved in the plane of the hips than it is in the ape, while the bones of the digits in man are less curved. The arms of man are shorter than the legs, while in the ape the comparative length of these features is reversed. In the cranial types it is readily seen that the skull of man is more spherical and the face almost or quite vertical. The skull of the ape is elongated and the chin projects. Thus his face is at an angle from a vertical line. These facts deserve more notice than the mere mention.
In the scheme of nature there appears to be a fixed law of cranial projection.
The cranio-facial angle in man, ABC (as shown in diagram No. 1 ), is a
right angle, and the gnathic angle ADE is approximately the same. The line
FG represents the axis of the facial plane, and the line HI is the cervical
axis. Reckoned from the vertical line KL it will be seen that the angles
formed by the facial axis FG and the cervical axis HI are about the same
on opposite sides of the vertical line KL. It will be observed that these
lines and angles are those of man whose posture is upright. In diagram
No. 2 it will be seen that both the facial axis FG and the cervical axis
HI form a greater angle from the vertical line than in man. It will also
be seen that the cranio-facial angle ABC is increased by about one-half
of the angle of the facial axis GML. The gnathic angle ADE is increased
in about the same degree. These are the lines and angles of the anthropoid
Diagram No. 3 represents the lines and angles of monkeys, in which the angles are widened in a degree measured by the tendency of the animal to assume a horizontal posture.
In diagram No. 4 we have the lines and angles of reptiles. In these it will be seen that the facial axis FG and the cervical axis Hi are almost horizontal. The cranio-facial and gnathic angles have been correspondingly widened.
Man standing erect has the greatest range of vocal powers of any animal. He also has the greatest control over them. In vocal range the apes come next in order. As we descend the scale from man through apes, monkeys, lemurs, and lemuroids, ultimately ending in the reptilian forms, we find the vocal powers restricted in scope and degraded in quality, until in the lowest reptiles they are lost in a mere hiss.
Concurrent with the variations described, the longitudinal, vertical, and transverse axes of the brain also change their proportion in a like degree. The angles formed by the plane of the vocal cords with the axis of the larynx undergo a corresponding change. A just deduction from these facts is, that the gnathic index ADE is a true vocal index.
This rough outline of the law of cranial projection does not purport to be a full treatment of the many lines and angles correlated to the powers of speech, but the suggestions may lead the craniologist into new fields of thought.
My elders said that animals could communicate with each other, but denied that they could talk. As a boy, I could not forego the belief that the sounds they used were speech; and I still ask: In what respect are they not speech? This question leads us to ask another.
What is speech? Any oral sound, voluntarily made, for the purpose of conveying a preconceived idea from the mind of the speaker to the mind of another, is speech. Any oral sound so made and so discharging this function in the animal economy is speech. It is true that the vocabularies of animals, when compared with those of man, are very limited; but the former are none the less real. The conception in the mind of an animal may not be so vivid as it is in the human mind, but the same conception is not always equally clear in two human minds. The fact of its being vague does not lessen its reality.
Expression is the materialized form of thought, and speech is one mode of expression. Every animal is capable of expressing any thought that he is capable of conceiving, and such expression will be found to be as distinct as the thought which it expresses. It is inconsistent with every view of nature to suppose that any creature is endowed with the faculty of thought and forbidden the means of expressing it.
It is true that there are some oral sounds which express emotion - such as pain or pleasure. These may not properly be called speech, although from them we may infer the state of mind attending them; but while they are not truly speech, they appear to be the cytula from which speech is developed. While emotions are not voluntary, they do not exist apart from mind. They are produced by external causes, and the line of demarcation which separates them from more definite forms of thought is a vague and wavering one. Thought may be involuntary, but expression arises from desire, and this is the sole motive of speech.
It is not the purpose of this work to discuss the problems of psychology, except to state the grounds upon which we base the claim that animals possess the faculty of speech; but this is intended as a record of observed facts and from them the psychologist may make his own deductions.
With the ever-present belief that animals could talk to each other, I observed from year to year certain things which tended to confirm it. About sixteen years ago an instance occurred which forever removed from my mind all doubt or wavering. Prior to that time I had observed that animals of the higher orders appeared to have the better types of speech and, concurrent with this belief, I tabulated many facts. In 1884 I made a visit to the Cincinnati Zoological Garden, where I was deeply impressed with the conduct of a school of monkeys occupy ing a cage which also contained a large mandrill. This savage baboon was an evident source of terror to the smaller inmates of the cage. A brick wall separated the cage into two compartments. The one was intended for summer and the other for winter occupancy. Through this wall was a small doorway, large enough to admit the passage of the occupants. I observed that two or three of the monkeys kept continual watch over the conduct of the baboon and reported to the other monkeys every movement that he made. When he was lying still, the monkeys passed back and forth without fear, but the instant he rose to his feet or gave any sign of disquiet the fact was promptly reported by the monkeys on watch to those in the adjoining compartment, and they acted in accordance with the warning. I was not able to determine the exact thing they reported, but the nature of the report was evi dent, and I resolved to learn more fully its meaning. After spending some hours watching their conduct and listening to the sound which controlled it, I became convinced that what they said was sufficiently definite to guide the actions of those to whom it was addressed. In fact I should have been willing to intrust my own safety to those warnings. After a brief study of those sounds I was able to understand the attitude of the baboon towards his neighbors; and while the warning contained no elabo rate detail that I could understand, the nature of his actions was made evident. I observed that a certain sound of warning caused them to act in a certain way, and a certain other sound caused them to act differently.
From this start I determined to learn the speech of monkeys. I did not suspect that the task would be so great as it has proved to be. I did not foresee the difficulties that have since become apparent. Year by year, as new ideas came to me, new barriers arose and the horizon continually widened. Yet I was not discouraged at the poor success of my first efforts. From time to time I visited the various collections of monkeys in this country and even availed myself of those found with traveling shows, hand organs, and elsewhere.
After some years of casual study it occurred to me that the phonograph would be a great aid in solving this problem. It would enable me to make more accurate comparisons of the sounds made by different monkeys; and after duly considering the matter I went to Washington and made my purpose known to Dr. Baker, of the Smithsonian Institution. This at first evoked from him a smile, but after explaining the means by which it was hoped to accomplish the end he looked upon the novel feat as a new step in the science of speech.
Having secured a phonograph, I repaired to the animal house then adjoining the Smithsonian Institution. At that time there were but two live monkeys there, and these were the nucleus around which has grown the present National Zo”logical Park at Washington. These two monkeys were of different species, but had for some time occupied the same cage. I had the female removed from the cage and carried into another room. Then the phonograph was placed near her cage, and by various means she was induced to utter a few sounds which were recorded upon the wax cylinder. The machine was then placed near the cage containing the male and the record repeated to him. His conduct plainly showed that he recognized the sound and understood the nature of it. He searched the horn from which the sounds proceeded and appeared to be perplexed at not finding the monkey that had made them. He traced the sound to its proper source, but, failing to find his mate, he thrust his arm into the horn and felt around the sides of it in the vain hope of finding her. The expression of his face was a study worthy of the best efforts of the physiognomist.
Then a few sounds of his voice were recorded upon another cylinder and were delivered to the female, who showed signs of recognition; but as this record was very indistinct it did not evoke from her the interest which the other had evoked from him.
This is doubtless the first instance in the history of speech that an attempt was ever made to reduce the speech of monkeys to record. While this first experiment was crude and the results were not conclusive, it pointed in the right direction and it inspired to further efforts to find the fountain head from which flows the great river of human speech.
Some critic at that time declared that this experiment could be of no scientific value, because the monkey had been provoked to make the sounds recorded, and the sounds so evoked were only sounds of anger or profanity. It was not a matter of concern to me whether these words were moral or profane, so long as they were speech sounds of a monkey and were so recognized by other monkeys. If a monkey uses profanity, he doubtless has some other forms of speech.
Shortly after this experiment I went to Chicago and made a record of a brown Cebus monkey. This record was of a sound most commonly used by that species. I had no exact idea as to its meaning, but its frequent use caused me to select it as one of their most important words. Having secured this, I returned to New York. There I selected a monkey of the same species and to him reproduced the record. He instantly gave signs of understanding it and replied to it. Again and again this sound was reproduced and he repeatedly answered it. He looked at the horn from which it came, then at the moving instrument, and drew back from them. But as the sound continued to proceed from the horn his interest seemed to awaken. He approached the horn and cautiously peeped into it. The sound was repeated. He thrust his arm into the horn and peeped around the outside to see if he had scared the monkey out. Failing to find him, he again retired from the horn, but responded to the sounds. He appeared to regard the thing with a kind of superstition. He seemed conscious of the fact that there should be a monkey there, but failing to find it he evinced suspicion. I do not know to what extent he regarded this as a spook, but he evidently realized that it was some unusual thing.
In this experiment certain facts may be observed. The record delivered to him nothing but the cold, mechanical sound. The elements of gesture, etc., were entirely eliminated as factors in the problem, so that the monkey had nothing to interpret except the sound. This would indicate that the speech sound of a monkey as well as that of man carried with it a fixed and constant meaning. This conclusion has since been confirmed by ample and varied experiments with mechanical devices of many kinds.
Among the defects observed in this experiment was the fact that I had not provided a means of recording the sound made in reply to the record. Subsequently I secured another instrument to do this. In this manner I obtained a reply, and thus I had the two cylinders for comparison. In like manner I repeated the experiment of delivering the record with one machine and recording the reply with another, until I had secured records of the speech sounds of nearly all the monkeys in captivity in this country. Taking these records at my leisure, I carefully compared and studied them, until I was able to interpret nine sounds of the speech of the Capuchin monkeys, and, incidentally, a few sounds of a great number of other species.
It is quite impossible to represent the sounds of monkey speech by any literal formula, and it is difficult to translate them into their exact equivalent of human speech; but, in order to convey some idea of the nature and scope of that speech, I shall describe a word or two. In the tongue of the brown Capuchin monkey the most important word somewhat resembles the word "who," uttered like " wh-oo-w." The phonetic effect is rich and musical. The vowel element which dominates it is a pure vocal "u." The radical meaning of this sound is food, which is the central thought of every monkey's life. It does not only mean food in the concrete sense, referring to the thing to be eaten, but it sometimes refers to the act of eating, in which sense it has the character of a verb. At other times it refers to the desire to eat or to the sensation of hunger, in which instance it may be said to have the character of an adjective. But grammatical values depend upon structure, and since the speech of monkeys is monophrastic it cannot truly be said to have grammatical form. All the sounds of this species, so far as I have seen, are monosyllables; and most of them contain but one distinct phonetic. I have therefore described them as "monophonetic." The word above described is sometimes used with the apparent purpose of expressing friendship, or something of that kind.
Another word which refers to drink, or liquid, begins with a faint guttural "ch," gliding through a sound resembling the French diphthong "eu," and ending with a vanishing "y." The sound is used with reference to drink in much the same way as the other sound is used with reference to food.
So far I have not found any trace of the vowels "a," "e," "i," or "o," sounded long, but in one sound of alarm emitted under stress of great fear or in case of assault, the vowel element resembles short "i." This sound is uttered in a pitch about two octaves above a human female voice.
All of the sounds made by monkeys and, so far as I have observed, by other animals, refer to their natural physical wants. They are not capable of expressing intricate or abstract thoughts, for the animal himself has no such thoughts. Their simple modes of life do not require complex thoughts.
A striking point of resemblance between human speech and that of the simian is found in a word that " Nellie " (one of my pets) used in warning me of the approach of danger. It is not that sound elsewhere described as the alarm sound used in case of imminent danger. This sound is used in case of remote danger or in announcing something unusual. As nearly as can be represented by letters it resembles "e-c-g-k.'' With this word I have often been warned by these little friends. Nellie's cage occupied a place near my desk. At night she would always stay awake as long as the light was kept burning. Having always kept late hours myself, I did not violate the rule of my life in order to give her a good night's rest. About two o'clock one morning, when about to retire, I found Nellie wide awake. I drew a chair near her cage and sat watching her pranks. She tried to entertain me with bells and toys. Without letting her see it, I tied a long thread to a glove and placed it in the corner of the room at a distance of several feet away. Holding one end of the string, I drew the glove obliquely across the floor. When I first tightened the string, which was drawn across one knee and under the other, the glove slightly moved. This her quick eye caught at the first motion. Standing almost on tiptoe, her mouth half open, she cautiously peeped at the glove. Then in a low undertone, verging on a whisper, she uttered the sound "e-c-g-k!" Every second or so she repeated it, at the same time watching to see whether or not I was aware of the approach of this goblin. Her actions were very human-like. Her movements were as stealthy as those of a cat. As the glove came closer and closer she became more and more demonstrative. When at last she saw the monster climbing the leg of my trousers she uttered the sound in a loud voice and very rapidly. She tried to get to the object. She evidently thought it was a living thing. She detected the thread with which the glove was drawn across the floor, but she seemed in doubt as to what part it played in the matter. Her eyes several times followed the thread from my knee to the glove, but I do not think she discovered what caused the glove to move. Having repeated this a few times, with about the same result each time, I relieved her anxiety by allowing her to examine the glove. She did this with marked interest for a moment and then turned away. I tried the same thing again, but failed to elicit from her the slightest interest after she had once examined the glove.
When Nellie first discovered the glove moving on the floor, she attempted to call my attention in a low tone. As the object approached she became more earnest and uttered the sound somewhat more loudly. When she discovered the monster -- as she regarded it -- climbing up my leg, she uttered the warning in a voice sufficiently loud for the distance over which the warning was conveyed. These facts indicate that her perception of sound was well defined. Her purpose was to warn me of the approaching danger without alarming the object against which the warning was intended. As the danger increased, the warning became more urgent. When she saw the danger at hand, she no longer concealed or restrained her alarm.
Nellie was an affectionate little creature. She hated to be left alone, even when supplied with toys and a super abundance of food. When she saw me put on my overcoat or take my hat, she foresaw that she would be left alone. Then she began to plead and beg and chatter. I often watched her through a small hole in the door. When quite alone, in perfect silence she played with her toys. Sometimes for hours together she did not utter a word. She was not an exception to the rule that monkeys do not talk when alone.
Although their speech is inferior to human speech, yet in it there is an eloquence that soothes and a meaning that appeals to the human heart.
Briefly stated, the speech of monkeys and human speech resemble each other in all essential points. The speech sounds of monkeys are voluntary, deliberate, and articulate. They are addressed to others with the evident purpose of being understood. The speaker shows that he is conscious of the meaning which he desires to convey through the medium of speech. He awaits and expects a reply. If it is not given, the sound is repeated. The speaker usually looks at the one addressed. Monkeys do not habitually utter these sounds when alone. They understand the sounds made by others of their own kind. They understand the sounds when imitated by a human being, by a phonograph, or by other mechanical means. They understand the sounds without the aid of signs or gestures. They interpret the same sound in the same way at all times. Their sounds are made by their vocal organs and are modulated by the teeth, the tongue, the palate, and the lips. Their speech is shaded into dialects, and the higher forms of animals have higher types of speech than the lower ones. The higher types are slightly more complex and somewhat more exact in meaning than the lower ones. The present state of monkey speech appears to have been reached by development from lower forms. Each race or species of monkey has a form of speech peculiar to its kind. When caged together for a time they learn the meaning of each other's sounds, but seldom try to utter them. Their faculty of speech is commensurate with their . mental and social status. They utter their speech sounds loud or soft as the condition requires, which indicates that they are conscious of the values. The more pronounced the gregarious habits of any species, the higher the type of speech it has. So far as I am able to discern, there is no intrinsic difference between the speech of monkeys and the speech of men.
After the lapse of eight or ten days I had not been able to reinstate myself in his good graces or to induce him to accept anything from me. At this juncture I resorted to harsher means of bringing him to terms; I threatened him with a rod. At first he resented this; but at length he yielded, and merely through fear he came down from his perch. When finally induced to approach, he placed the side of his head on the floor, put out his tongue, and uttered a plaintive sound having a slightly interrogative inflection. At first this act quite defied interpretation; but during the same period I was visiting a little monkey called Jack, and in him I found a clue to the meaning of this conduct. For strangers, Jack and I were very good friends. He allowed me many liberties, which the family assured me he had uniformly refused to others. On a certain visit to him he displayed his temper and made an attack upon me, because I refused to let go a saucer from which he was drinking milk. I jerked him up by the chain and slapped him; whereupon he instantly laid the side of his head on the floor, put out his tongue, and made just such a sound as Jokes had made on the occasion mentioned. It occurred to me that it was a sign of surrender. Subsequent tests confirmed this opinion.
Mrs. M. French Sheldon, in her journey through East Africa, shot a small monkey in a forest near Lake Charla. She graphically describes how the little fellow stood high up in the bough of a tree and chattered to her in a clear, musical voice until at the discharge of her gun he fell mortally wounded. When he was laid dying at her feet, he turned his bright little eyes pleadingly upon her as if to ask for pity. Touched by his appeal, she took the little creature in her arms and tried to soothe him. Again and again he touched his tongue to her hand as if kissing it, and seemed to wish in the hour of death to be caressed by the hand that had taken from him without reward that sweet life which could be of no value except it were spared to the wild forest where his kindred live. From her description of the actions of that monkey, his conduct was identical with that of the Cebus, and may justly be interpreted to mean "Pity me! " or "Spare me!" A Scotch naturalist, commenting on my description of this act and its interpretation, quite agrees with me, and states that he has observed the same thing in other species of monkeys.
During a period of many weeks I visited Jokes almost daily; but after the lapse of more than two months I had not won him hack nor quieted his suspicions against me. On my approach he usually manifested fear and went through the act of humiliation above described.
Observing that he entertained an intense hatred for a negro boy who teased and vexed him, I had the boy come near the cage. Jokes fairly raved with anger. I took a stick and pretended to beat the boy. This greatly delighted Jokes. I held the boy near enough to the cage to allow the monkey to scratch and pull his clothes. This filled his little simian soul with joy. Releasing the boy, I drove him away by throwing wads of paper at him. This gave Jokes infinite pleasure. I repeated this a number of times, and by such means we again became good friends. After each encounter with the boy, Jokes came to the bars, touched my hand with his tongue, chattered, played with my fingers, and showed every sign of confidence and friendship. He always warned me of the approach of any one, and his conduct at such times was largely governed by my own. After this he never failed to salute me with the proper sound.
During this time I paid a few visits to another little monkey of the same species. Her name was Jennie. Her master had warned me in advance that she was not well disposed towards strangers. At my request he had her chained in a small side yard, which he forbade any of the family entering. On approaching the little lady for the first time, I gave her the usual salutation, which she responded to and seemed to understand. I sat down by her side and fed her from my hands. She viewed me with evident interest and curiosity. I studied her with equal interest. During the process of this mutual investigation a negro girl, who lived with the family, stealthily entered the yard and came up within a few feet of us. I determined to sacrifice this girl upon the altar of science. Placing her between the monkey and myself, I vigorously sounded the "alarm" or "warning." Jennie flew into a fury. I continued to sound the alarm and at the same time pretended to attack the girl with a club and some paper wads. The purpose was to make the monkey believe that the girl had uttered the alarm and made the assault. With a great display of violence I drove the girl from the yard. For days afterward she could not feed or approach the little simian. This further confirmed the opinion as to the meaning of this sound. This sound can be fairly imitated by placing the back of the hand gently on the mouth and kissing it with great force, prolonging the sound. This imitation, however, is indifferent, but the quality of the sound is especially noticeable when analyzed on the phonograph. The pitch corresponds to the highest "F" sharp on a piano, while the word "drink" is about two octaves lower, and the word "food" is nearly three.
On one occasion I visited the Zoölogical Garden in Cincinnati, where I found in a cage a small Capuchin to whom I gave the name Banquo. It was near night and the visitors had left the house. The little monkey, worried out by the annoyance of visitors, sat quietly in the back of his cage, as though glad that another day was done. I approached the cage and uttered the sound which I have translated "drink." The first effort caught his attention and caused him to turn and look at me. He rose and answered with the same word. He then came to the front of the cage and looked at me as if in doubt. I repeated the word. He again responded, and turned to a small pan in the cage. He took it up and placed it near the door through which the keeper passed food to him. He then turned to me and again uttered the word. I asked the keeper for some milk; but he brought me some water instead. The efforts of the little simian to secure the glass were very earnest, and his pleading manner and tone gave evidence of his thirst. I allowed him to dip his hand into the glass and lick the water from his fingers. When the glass was kept out of the reach of his hand he repeated the sound and looked beseechingly at me as if to say -Please give me more." This caused me to suspect that the word which I had translated "milk" also meant "water." From this and other tests I finally determined that it meant "drink " in a broad sense and possibly also meant "thirst." It evidently expressed his desire for something with which to allay his thirst. The sound is very difficult to imitate and quite impossible to write, but an idea of it is given elsewhere.
On one of my visits to the Chicago Garden I stood with my side to a cage containing a small Capuchin. I uttered the sound which had been translated "milk." It caused him to turn and look at me, and on my repeating the sound a few times he answered very distinctly, using the same sound. Picking up the pan from which he usually drank, he brought it to the front of the cage, set it down, came up to the bars, and distinctly uttered the word. He had not been shown any milk or other kind of food. The man in charge then brought some milk, which I gave to the monkey, who drank it with great delight. I again held up his pan and repeated the sound. He used the same sound each time when he wanted milk. During this visit I tried many experiments with the word which I am now convinced means "food" or "hunger." I was led to the belief that he used the same word for apple, carrot, bread, and banana. Later experiments, however, have caused me to modify this view, because the phonograph shows slight variations of the sound, and it is probable that these faint inflections may indicate different kinds of food. They usually recognize this sound, even when poorly imitated. In this word may be found a clue to the great secret of speech. And while I have taken but one short step toward its solution, these facts point out the way that leads to it.
In order to ascertain whether or not monkeys have any choice of colors, I selected some bright-colored balls, marbles, candies, and bits of ribbon. Taking a piece of pasteboard, I placed on it a few pieces of candy of different colors. This was offered to a monkey to see if he would select a certain color. In order to avoid confusing him, I used only two colors at a time, but frequently shifted their places. This was to determine whether the color was chosen merely for convenience or for the sake of the color itself. By repeating this with a series of bright colour and frequent changing of their order it was ascertained in many instances that certain monkeys had a distinct choice of color. It was found that all monkeys do not select the same color, and also that the same monkey does not at all times choose the same. But, as a rule, bright green appeared to be the favorite color of the Capuchins, and their second choice was white. In a few instances white appeared to be their preference. This experiment was not confined to candies, nuts, or other eatables. They appeared to use about the same taste in selecting their toys. From the use of artificial flowers, it appeared that the choice of green was possibly associated with their selection of food. On one occasion I kept a cup for a monkey to drink milk from. On one side of this was a picture of some bright flowers and green leaves. The monkey would sometimes quit drinking the milk and try to pick the flowers off the side of the cup. The fact that she could not remove the flowers appeared to annoy her, and she seemed not to understand why she could not get hold of them.
In one test I used a board about two feet long, upon which were a few pieces of white and pink candies, mixed and arranged in four different places on the board. The monkey selected the white from each pile before taking the pink, except in one instance, in which the pink was taken first. In another experiment I took a white paper ball in one hand and a pink one in the other and held my hands out to the monkey. He selected the white one almost every time, although from time to time I changed hands with the balls. It was not a mere matter of convenience with the monkey, for he would sometimes reach over the hand containing the pink ball in order to obtain the white one. Most of these experiments were performed with the Capuchins, but some of them were made with the Rhesus. The fact that monkeys generally seem to be attracted by brilliant colors is doubtless due to the readiness with which these catch the attention; but when reduced to a choice between two colors, they do not seem to give preference to brilliant ones.
A unique but simple experiment was made in order to ascertain whether or not monkeys enumerate. I placed on a small platter one nut and a small piece of apple or carrot cut in the shape of a cube. On another platter were placed two or three such articles of like color and size. Holding the two just out of reach of the monkey, and changing hands from time to time, I observed that he tried to reach the platter containing the greater number, thus indicating that he discerned which contained the greater quantity or number of articles. It was long a matter of doubt as to whether it was by number or by quantity that his choice was controlled. But by taking one piece larger than the others and of different shape, it was ascertained that he appreciated the difference of quantity. Then, by taking a platter containing one piece and another platter containing several similar pieces, it was seen that he could distinguish singular from plural.
Another experiment was to determine to what extent he was able to enumerate. To this end I constructed a small square box and made a hole in one side of it. The box was cushioned inside so that the contents would not rattle. In the box were placed three marbles of the same size and color. The hole was just large enough for the monkey to withdraw his hand with one marble at a time. After letting him play with these for a while, putting them into the box and taking them out, I abstracted one of the marbles and left the other two for him to play with. On taking them out of the box, he missed the absent one, felt in the box for it, rose, and looked where he had been sitting. Again he put his hand into the box and looked at me as if to say he had lost something. Failing to find it, he soon became reconciled to the loss and began to play with the remaining two. When he had become quite content with these, I abstracted a second one. Thereupon he instituted search and was quite unwilling to proceed without finding the lost marbles. He put his hand into the box, evidently in the hope of finding them. He would not continue to play with the one. I restored one of the marbles, and when he discovered that I could find the lost marble, he appealed to me in each instance to assist him. Then with his little, dirty, black fingers he insisted upon opening my lips to see if it was concealed in my mouth -the place where monkeys usually conceal stolen goods. I repeated this experiment many times, until quite convinced of his ability to count three. Another marble was then added to the number and he was allowed to play with the four until he became familiar with that number. But when one was taken from the four he did not appear to be greatly impressed with the loss. At times he seemed to be in doubt, but he did not worry much about it, though seeming to realize that something was wrong.
It is not to be supposed that monkeys have names for numerals, but they surely have a more or less distinct conception of plurality. The same fact is true of birds. It is said that all birds are able to count the eggs in their nests. This is certainly true of those that lay only three or four eggs.
During the time that these experiments were being made with monkeys in this country, the late Professor Romanes was making certain experiments with a chimpanzee in London. He succeeded in teaching her to count seven, so that she would count and deliver to him on demand any number from one up to seven. This she did without prompting, and usually without mistake.
Among different specimens of monkeys there seems to be a wide range of tastes. In this respect they vary much the same as human beings do. The same is true of their mental powers in general. With some monkeys the choice of color is much more definite and of dimension much more certain than in others, and most of them appear to assign to different numbers a difference of value.
Some monkeys are talkative and others taciturn. Some of them are vicious and some stolid, while others are as playful as kittens and as cheerful as sunshine. I regard the Cebus as the most intelligent of monkeys. In fact I have called him ®The Caucasian of monkeys." The new world monkeys seem to be more intelligent and more loquacious than the old world stock, but this remark does not include the anthropoid apes.
As a test of the musical taste of monkeys, I took three little bells and suspended them by a like number of strings. The bells were all alike except that from two of them the clappers had been removed. Dropping the bells through the meshes of the cage at a distance of ten or twelve inches apart, the monkey was allowed to play with them. He soon discovered the one containing the clapper. He played with it and became quite absorbed with it. He was then attracted to another part of the cage, during which time the position of the bells was changed. On his return he found his favorite bell without a clapper. He then turned to another, and then another, until he found the one with the clapper. This indicated that the sound emitted by the bell was at least a part of its attraction.
During the time that I used the phonograph in studying the monkeys, I repeated many musical records to them and found that some evinced fondness for the music, others were indifferent to it, and a few showed aversion to it. It appeared that the monkeys that were most attracted by musical sounds enjoy the repetition of a single note rather than the melody. It is possible that music, as we understand it, is too high an order of sense culture for them. The single note of a certain pitch seems to attract and afford pleasure to some of them, but they do not seem to appreciate rhythm or melody.
As monkeys discern the larger of two pieces of food, they may be said to have the perceptive faculty which enables them to appreciate dimension. As they are able to discern singular from plural, and two from three or more, they have, in that degree, the faculty of enumeration. As they are able to distinguish and select colors, they possess the first rudiment of art as dealing with color. As they are attracted or repelled by musical sounds, they may be said to possess the first rudiment of music. It must not be understood, however, that any claim is made that monkeys possess a high degree of mental culture; but it will be admitted that they possess the germs of mathematics as dealing with form, dimension, and number; of art, as dealing with form and color; of music, as dealing with tone and time. It is not probable that they have any names for any of these sensations, nor that they have any abstract ideas that are not drawn directly from experience. But as the concrete must precede the abstract in the development of reason, it is more than probable that these creatures now occupy a mental horizon such as man has once passed through in the course of his evolution. It does not require a great effort of the mind to appreciate the possibility that these feeble faculties, in constant use and under changed conditions, may develop into a higher degree of strength and usefulness. In fact we find in these creatures the embryo of every faculty of the human being, including those of reason and speech, through the exercise of which are developed the higher moral and social traits of man. They appear to have at least the raw material from which are made the highest attributes of the human mind, and I shall not contest with them the right of exclusive possession.
At one time I borrowed from a dealer a little Capuchin called Puck, and had him sent to my apartments, where I had a phonograph. I placed the cage in front of the machine, upon which had been adjusted the record of my little friend Pedro. I concealed myself in an adjoining room, where, through a small hole in the door, I could watch the conduct of Puck. A string was attached to the lever of the machine, drawn taut, and passed through another hole in the door. By this means the machine could be started without attracting the attention of the monkey through his seeing anything move. When everything in the room was quiet the machine was set in motion, and Puck was treated to a phonographic recital by Pedro. This speech was distinctly delivered through the horn to the monkey. From his actions it was evident that he recognized it as the voice of one of his tribe. He looked with surprise at the horn, made a sound or two, glanced around the room, and again uttered two or three sounds. Appar ently somewhat afraid, he retired from the horn. Again the horn delivered some sounds of pure Capuchin speech. Puck seemed to regard them as sounds of some importance. He advanced cautiously and made a feeble response; but a quick, sharp sound from the horn startled him; and failing to find anything indicating a monkey, except the sound of the voice, he looked with evident suspicion at the horn, and scarcely ventured to answer any sound it made.
When the contents of the record had been delivered to him I entered the room. This relieved his fear of the horn. A little later the apparatus was again adjusted, and a small mirror was hung just above the mouth of the horn. Again retiring from the room, I left him to examine his new surroundings. He soon discovered the monkey in the glass, and began to caress it and chatter to it. Again the phonograph was started by means of the string, and when the horn began to deliver its simian oration, it greatly disconcerted and perplexed Puck. He looked at the image in the glass and then into the horn. He retired with a feeble grunt and an inquisitive grin, showing his little white teeth, and acting as though in doubt whether to regard the affair as a joke, or to treat it as a grim and scientific fact. His voice and actions were like those of a child, declaring in words that he was not afraid, and at the same time betraying fear in every act. Puck did not cry, but his intense fear made the grin on his face rather ghastly. Again he approached the mirror and listened to the sounds which came from the horn. His conduct betrayed the conflict in his little soul. It was evident that he did not believe the monkey which he saw in the glass was making the sounds which came from the horn. He repeatedly put his mouth to the glass and caressed the image, but tried at the same time to avoid the monkey which he heard in the horn. His conduct in this instance was a source of surprise, as the sounds contained in the record were all uttered in a mood of anxious, earnest entreaty, which contained no sound of anger, warning, or alarm, but, on the contrary, appeared to be a kind of love-speech. I had not learned the exact meaning of any one of the sounds contained in this cylinder, but in a collective and general way had ascribed such meaning to them. From Puck's conduct it was to be inferred that this was some kind of complaint against those monkeys occupying the other cage. They had made life a burden to little Pedro. It was evident that Puck interpreted the actions of the monkey seen in the glass to mean one thing, and the sounds that came from the horn to mean quite another.
Their language is not capable of relating narratives or giving details in a complaint, but in general terms of griev ance it may have conveyed to Puck the idea of a monkey in distress, and hence his desire to avoid it. The image in the glass presented to him a picture of a monkey in a happy mood, and he therefore had no cause to shun it.
The speech used by monkeys is not of a high order, but it appears to have been developed from an inferior type. Some species among them have much more copious and expressive forms of speech than others. From many experiments with the phonograph I conclude that some have much higher phonetic types than others. I have found slight inflections that seem to modify the values of their sounds. Certain monkeys do not make certain inflections at all, although in other respects the phonation of a species is generally uniform. In some cases it appears that the inflections differ slightly in the same species, but long and constant association tends in some degree to unify these dialects much the same as like causes blend and unify the dialects of human speech.
I observed one instance in which a Capuchin had acquired two sounds which strictly belonged to the tongue of the white-faced Cebus. At first I suspected that these sounds were common to the speech of both varieties; but on inquiry it was found that this brown Cebus had been confined for some years in a cage with the white-face, during which time he had acquired them.
The most interesting case that I have to record is one in which a young white-faced Cebus acquired the Capuchin sound for food. This occurred under my own observation, and, being attended by such conditions as to show that the monkey had a motive in learning the sound, I regard it as most noteworthy.
In the room where the monkeys were kept by a dealer in Washington, there was a cage containing the young Cebus in question. He was of rather more than average intelligence. He was a quiet, sedate, and thoughtful little monkey. His gray hair and beard gave him quite a venerable aspect, and for this reason I called him Darwin. For some reason he was afraid of me, and I gave him but little attention. In an adjacent cage lived the little brown Cebus, called Puck. The cages were only separated by an open wire partition, through which they could easily see and hear each other. For some weeks I visited Puck almost daily, and in response to his sound for food, I supplied him with nuts, bananas, or other food. I never gave him anything to eat unless he asked me for it in his own speech.
On one occasion my attention was attracted by little Darwin, who was making a strange sound, such as I had never before heard one of his species utter. At first I did not recognize the sound, but finally discovered that it was intended to imitate the sound of the brown monkey, in response to which I always gave him some nice morsel of food. Darwin had observed that when Puck made this sound he was always rewarded with something to eat, and his own evident motive was to secure a like reward. After this I gave him a bit of food in acknowledgment of his efforts. From day to day he improved in making the sound, until at length it could scarcely be detected from that made by Puck. This was accomplished within a period of less than six weeks from the time of my first visit. In this instance, at least, I have witnessed one step taken by a monkey, in learning the speech of another. This was doubly interesting to me in view of the fact that I had long believed, and had announced the belief, that no monkey ever tried to acquire the sounds made by one of another species. This instance alone was sufficient to cause me to recede from a conclusion thus rendered untenable; and the short time in which the feat was accomplished would indicate that the difficulty is not so great as it had been regarded. As a rule, monkeys do not learn each other's speech; but the rule is not without exceptions. I had previously observed, and called attention to the fact, that when two monkeys of different species are caged together, each one learns to understand the speech of the other, but does not try to speak it. When he replies at all, it is in his own vernacular. Monkeys do not essay to carry on a connected conversation. Their speech is usually limited to a single sound or word, and it is answered in the same manner. To suppose that they converse in an elaborate manner is to go beyond the bounds of reason. In this respect, the masses fail to understand the real nature of the speech of monkeys or other animals.
One of the most cunning and happiest of all little monkeys was in this group. His name was Mickie, and he was the boss of the school. He was not very talkative except when he wished for food or drink, but he was very playful and we had many a merry romp. Whenever I entered the cage Mickie perched himself above the door to surprise me by jumping on my neck. He then affectionately threw his arms around my neck and licked my cheeks, pulled my ears, and chattered in his sweet, plaintive tones. The other inmates of the cage were jealous of him, but none contested his right to do as he pleased. I am sorry to say that Mickie was not always as kind to his little cousins as he might have been. He was like some people I have known who are selfish and sometimes cruel; but his habitual good nature made amends in some degree for his sudden fits of anger. Mickie did not belong to the park. He was only kept as a guest of the city during the absence of his master in Europe. He had a genuine sense of humor and sometimes played pranks upon the others, very much to their annoyance. On one occasion Mickie got the tail of another monkey around one of the bars of the cage. He sat down and held to it while its owner screamed with rage and scuffled to get away. During this time Mickie's face wore a broad, satanic grin, and he did not release his hold until he had tired of the fun.
Another one of these little cousins was named McGinty. McGinty was very fond of me; but he was afraid of Mickie, who was much larger and stronger than himself. McGinty always wanted to be counted in the game. He did not like to have Mickie monopolize my attentions. He often climbed upon my shoulders and caressed me very fondly, if not interrupted by Mickie; but whenever the latter came, poor little McGinty retired in disgust, pouted for a time, and even refused to accept food from me. By and by he would yield to my overtures and again join in the play. He seemed always to wish to find something that would divert my attention from Mickie.
Another inmate of the cage was a fine little monkey that belonged to Mr. G. Scribner, of Yonkers, N. Y. At the time of my visits I did not know the name of this little creature nor who owned him. I called him Nemo. He was timid and taciturn, but quite intelligent. He was gentle in manner, kind in disposition, and he possessed a great amount of diplomacy. He was thoughtful and peaceable; but "full of guile." He always sought to keep the peace with Mickie, to whom he played the sycophant. He would put his little arms about Mickie's neck in a most affectionate manner and hang on to him like a last hope. In all broils that concerned Mickie, Nemo was his partisan. If Mickie was diverted, Nemo laughed. I have sometimes thought that he would do so if he were suffering with the toothache. He seemed to be as completely under the control of Mickie as was the curl in Mickie's tail. When Nemo saw Mickie bite my fingers in play, he thought it was done in anger and he lost no chance of biting them; but his little teeth were not strong enough to hurt very much. At last he discovered that Mickie was only biting me in fun, and after that Nemo did it apparently as a duty. It scarcely seems that a monkey can be capable of such far-reaching purpose or of such diplomacy, but by a careful study of his actions I could find no other motive.
One singular thing in the conduct of this monkey was his apologetic manner towards another inmate of the cage. Nemo had a soft musical voice and remarkable power of facial expression. On two occasions he appeared to apologize to a companion called Dodo. This was done in a very humble manner. I tried in vain to secure a record of this particular speech. His manner, voice, and face expressed contrition; but I was never able to learn either the exact cause or the extent of his humiliation. He sat in a crouching position, with the left hand clasped around the right wrist, and delivered his speech in a most energetic, though humble, manner. After each effort he made a brief pause and repeated what appeared to me to be the same thing. This was done three or four times. When he had quite finished this speech, Dodo, to whom it had been addressed and who had quietly listened, delivered with her right hand a sound blow upon the left side of the face of the little penitent. To this he responded with a soft cry, but without resentment. The keeper assured me that he had many times witnessed this act, but he had no idea of its meaning. As to the details of this act, I have no theory; but the state of mind and the purpose were evident. They expressed regret, penitence, or submission. I have witnessed something similar in other monkeys, but nothing equal in point of finish or pathos to that scene between Nemo and Dodo.
Dodo had a bright face and a symmetrical figure. In her I witnessed one of the most interesting acts that I have ever seen in any monkey. Her combined speech and actions bordered on the histrionic. Her monologue was addressed to her keeper, of whom she was especially fond. At almost any hour of the day Dodo would stand erect and deliver to her keeper the most touching and impassioned address. The keeper went into the cage with me, to see if he could handle her. After a little coaxing she allowed him to take her into his arms. After he had caressed her for a while and assured her that no harm was meant, she put her slender little arms about his neck and like an injured child cuddled her head up under his chin. She caressed him by licking his cheeks, and chattered in a voice full of sympathy. Her display of affection was worthy of a human being. During most of this time she continued her pathetic speech. She was not willing he should leave her. The only time at which she made any show of anger or threatened me with assault was when I attempted to lay hands on her keeper or to release him from her embrace. At such times she would fly at me and attempt to tear my clothes off. On these occasions she would not allow any other inmate of the cage to approach him or to receive his caresses. The sounds which she uttered were at times pitiful, and the tale she told seemed to be full of sorrow. I have not, so far, been able to translate these sounds, but their import cannot be misunderstood. Her speech was doubtless a complaint against the other monkeys in the cage, and she was probably begging her keeper not to leave her alone in that great iron prison with all those big, bad monkeys who were so cruel to her. One reason for believing this to be the nature of her speech is that in all cases where I have heard this kind of speech and seen these gestures, the conditions were such as to indicate that such was their nature. It looks, however, very much like a lovemaking scene of the most intense kind.
It is difficult to describe either the sounds or the gestures made on these occasions The monkey stood erect upon her feet, crossed her hands over her heart, and in the most touching and graceful manner went through a series of singular contortions. She swayed her body from side to side, turned her head in a coquettish manner, and moved her folded hands dramatically. Meanwhile her face was adorned with a broad grin, and the soft, rich notes of her voice were perfectly musical. She bent her body first into one curve and then into another, moved her feet with the grace of the minuet, and continued her fervent speech as long as the object of her adoration appeared to be touched by her appeals. Her voice ranged from pitch to pitch and from key to key, through the whole gamut of simian vocals, and with her arms folded she glided with the skill of a ballet girl across the floor of her cage. At times she stood with her eyes fixed upon her keeper, and held her face in such a position as not for a moment to lose sight of him. Meanwhile she turned her body entirely around in her tracks. This was accomplished with a skill such as no contortionist has ever attained. During these orations her eyes moistened as if in tears, showing that she felt the sentiment which her speech was intended to convey.
These little creatures do not shed tears as human beings do; but their eyes moisten as a result of the same causes that move the human eyes to tears.
These sounds appeal directly to our better feelings. What there is in the sound itself we do not really know, but it touches some chord in the human heart which vibrates in response to it. It has impressed me with the poetic thought that all our senses are like the strings of a great harp, each chord having a certain tension, so that any sound produced through an emotion finds a response in that chord with which it is in unison. Possibly our emotions and sensations are like the diatonic scale in music, and the organs through which they act respond in tones and semitones. Each multiple of any fundamental tone affects the chord in unison, as the strings upon a musical instrument are affected. The logical deduction is that our sympathies and affections are the chords, and our aversions the discords, of that great harp of passion.
The last of this quintette was a frail little fellow called Nigger. He was not of much interest, as he was in poor health. He kept mostly to himself, because his companions were unkind to him and he was not strong enough to defend himself. He was gentle and affectionate. He was fond of being caressed and often evinced a sense of gratitude. He had a touch of humor which sometimes was very funny. He occasionally created a riot in the cage and then stole away to his corner and left the others to fight it out. He was the last of the five left in the park, but he was the first of them to die. The others were taken away by their owners; but poor little Nigger died in that dismal cage from whose windows he could see the beautiful trees and warm sunshine of springtime, though to him they were only a dream that saddened rather than cheered.
About this time there came to Washington a little girl who was deaf, dumb, and blind. It was little Helen Keller. She was accompanied by her teacher, who acted as her interpreter. A great desire of Helen's life was to see a live monkey -that is, to see one with her fingers. The owner sent for me to come and show one to her. When any one except myself had put hands upon Nellie, she had growled and scolded and showed temper. I took her from the cage. When the little blind girl first put her hands on Nellie, the shy little monkey did not like it. I stroked the child's hair and cheeks with my own hand and then with Nellie's. She looked up at me and uttered one of those soft, flute-like sounds. Then she began to pull at the cheeks and ears of the child. Within a few minutes they were like old friends and playmates, and for nearly an hour they afforded each other great pleasure. At the end of that time they separated with reluctance. The little simian acted as if conscious of the sad affliction of the child, but seemed at perfect ease with her. She would decline the tenderest approach of others. She looked at the child's eyes, and then at me, as if to indicate that she was aware that the child was blind. The little girl appeared not to be aware that monkeys could bite. It was a beautiful and touching scene, and one in which the lamp of instinct shed its feeble light on all around. Helen has now grown into womanhood. I recently paid her a visit, and she assured me that she still pleasantly remembered this dear little monkey friend.
One day Nellie escaped from her cage and climbed upon a shelf occupied by some bird cages. As she climbed over the light wicker cages, some of them, with their little yellow occupants, fell to the floor. I tried to induce Nellie to return to me; but the falling cages, the cry of the birds, the screeching of the parrots, and the vociferous chatter of other monkeys frightened poor Nellie almost out of her wits. She, thinking I was the cause of all this trouble, because I was present, screamed with fright at my approach. Such is the rule that governs monkeydom. Monkeys suspect every one of doing wrong except themselves. I had her removed to my apartments. She was supplied with bells and toys, and was fed on the fat of the land. By this means we finally knitted together again the broken bones of our friendship. When once a monkey has grown suspicious of you, it seldom entirely recovers from aversion. In every act thereafter you are suspected of mischief. I made some good records of the speech of this amiable monkey and studied them with special care.
A frequent and welcome visitor to my study was a little boy about six years old. For him Nellie entertained great fondness. At the sight of the boy, Nellie went into perfect raptures, and when leaving him she called him so earnestly and whined so pitifully that one could not refrain from sympathy. On his return she would laugh audibly and give every sign of extreme joy. She never tired of his company, nor gave any attention to others while he was present. Some children next door found great delight in calling to see Nellie, and she always evinced great pleasure at their visits. On these occasions she consciously entertained them and showed herself to the best advantage. In order to make a good record of her sounds, and especially of her laughter, I brought the little boy to my aid. The boy would conceal himself in the room, and after Nellie had called him a few times he would jump out and surprise her. This would cause her to laugh till she could be heard throughout the whole house. In this manner I secured some of the best records I have ever made of the laughter of monkeys. When the boy concealed himself again, I secured the peculiar sound which she used when trying to attract his attention.
Nellie had spent much of her life in captivity, and had been used to the society of children. She rarely ever betrayed any aversion to them. She delighted to pat their cheeks, pull their ears, and tangle their hair. She took great pleasure in cleaning one's finger-nails. She did this with the skill of a manicure. She found pleasure in picking the shreds, ravelings, or specks from one's clothing. She was not selfish in selecting her friends. She was influenced neither by age nor by beauty.
To be out of her cage and supplied with toys was all she demanded to make her happy. I have sometimes thought she preferred such a life to the freedom of her Amazon forests. It is to be regretted that monkeys are so destructive that one dare not turn them loose in a room where there is anything that can be torn or broken. They enjoy such mischief. Nellie often begged me so piteously to be taken from her little iron prison that I could not refuse her request, even at the cost of much trouble in preparing the room for her.
As we retain these little captives against their will and treat them worse than slaves by keeping them in close con finement, we should at least try to amuse them. It is true that they do not have to toil; but it would be more humane to make them work in the open air than to confine them so closely and deprive them of every means of pleasure. As an act of humanity and simple justice, I would impress upon those who have the charge of these little pets the importance of keeping them supplied with toys. In this respect they are just like children. For a trifle one can furnish them with such toys as they need. It is absolutely cruel to keep these little creatures confined in solitude and deny them the simple pleasure they find in playing with a bell, a ball, or a few marbles. A trifling outlay in this way will very much prolong their lives. Monkeys are always happy if they have plenty to eat and something to play with. I recall no investment of mine which ever yielded a greater return in pleasure than one little pocket match-safe, costing twenty-five cents, which one evening I gave to Nellie to play with. I had put into it a small key to make it rattle, and also some bits of candy. She rattled the box and found much pleasure in the noise it made. I showed her how to press the spring in order to open the box; but her little black fingers were not strong enough to release the spring and make the lid fly open. However, she caught the idea and knew that the spring was the secret which held the box closed. When she found that she could not open it with her fingers, she tried it with her teeth. Failing in this, she turned to the wall, and standing upright on the top of her cage, she took the box in both hands and struck the spring against the wall until the lid flew open. She was perfectly delighted at the result, and for the hundredth time, at least, I closed the box for her to open it again. On the following day some friends came in to visit her. I gave her the match-safe to open. On this occasion she was in her cage, and through its meshes she could not reach the wall. She had nothing against which to strike the spring to force it open. After looking around her and striking the box a few times against the wires of her cage, she discovered a block of wood about six inches square. She took this and mounted her perch. Balancing the block on the perch, she held it with the left foot, while with the right foot she held to the perch. With her tail wound around the meshes of the cage to steady herself, she carefully adjusted the match-box in such a manner as to protect her fingers from the blow. Then she struck the spring against the block of wood and the lid flew open. She fairly screamed with delight and held up the box with pride. The lid was again closed in order that she might open it.
The late hours which I kept were beginning to tell on Nellie, and from time to time during the clay I caught her taking a nap. I determined to use some curtains to avoid disturbing her rest. Drawing them around the cage, I lapped them over and pinned them down in front. Then I turned down the light and kept quiet for a little while to allow her to go to sleep. After the lapse of a few minutes I quietly turned up the light and resumed writing. In an instant the curtains rustled. Looking around, I saw her little brown eyes peeping through the folds of the curtains, which she gracefully held apart with her little black hands. When she saw what had caused the disturbance she chattered in her soft, rich tones, and tried to pull the curtains farther apart. I arranged them so she could not look around the room. To see her holding the curtains apart in that coquettish manner, turning her head from side to side, peeping and smiling at me and talking in such low sweet tones, was like a real flirtation. One who has not witnessed such a scene cannot fully appreciate it. Only those who have experienced the warm and unselfish friendship of these little creatures can realize how strong the attachment becomes. The love of these little creatures is proof against gossip, and their tongues are free from it.
Among the many captives of the simian race who spend their lives in iron prisons, adding to the wealth and gratifying the cruelty of man, - not to expiate any crime, -- I have many little friends. I am attached to them. So far as I can see, their devotion to me is as warm and sincere as that of any human being. I must confess that I am too obtuse to discern in what way the love they have for me differs from my own for them. I cannot see in what respect their love is less sublime than human love. I cannot discern in what respect the affection of a dog for a kind master differs from that of a child for a kind parent. I fail to see in what respect the sense of fear of a cruel master differs from that of the child toward a cruel parent. It is mere sentiment that ascribes to the passion of a child a higher source than the same passion in the dog or the monkey. The dog could have loved or feared another master just as well. Filial love or fear reaches out its tendrils just as far when all the ties of kindred blood are removed. It has been said that for one we are able to assign a reason why, while the other feeling is a mere impulse. I am too dull to understand how reason actuates to love, and instinct to mere attachment. I do not believe that in the intrinsic nature of these passions there is any essential difference. Whether it be reason or instinct in man, the affections of the lower animals are actuated by the same motives, governed by the same conditions, and guided by the same reasons as those of man. I shall long remember some of my monkey friends, and I feel sure that, far away in the silent niches of their memory, some of them have my image enshrined. Sometimes after long months of absence I see them again. They always recognize me at sight and often scream with pleasure at my return.
Having for several years devoted much time to the study of the speech and the habits of monkeys in captivity, I formulated a plan of going to their native haunts to study them under more favorable conditions.
In the course of my labors up to that time, I had found that monkeys of the highest physical types have also higher types of speech than those of the inferior kinds. In accordance with this fact, it was logical to infer that in the anthropoid apes -- they being next to man in the scale of nature -- would be found the faculty of speech developed in a higher degree than in the monkeys. The chief object of my study was to learn the language of animals. The great apes appeared to be the best subjects for that purpose, so I turned my attention to them. The gorilla was said to be the most nearly like man, and the chimpanzee next. There were none of the former in captivity, and but few of the latter; and those few were kept under conditions that forbade all efforts to do anything in the line of scientific study of their speech. As the gorilla and the chimpanzee could both be found in the same section of tropical Africa, that region was selected as the best field of operation; and, in order to carry out the task assumed, I prepared for a journey thither.
The locality chosen was along the equator and about two degrees south of it. This region is infested with fevers, insects, serpents, and wild beasts of divers kinds. To ignore such dangers would be folly; but there was no way to see these apes in their freedom, except to go and live among them. To lessen in a degree the dangers incurred by such an adventure, I devised a cage of steel wire woven into a lattice with a mesh one inch and a half wide. This was made in twenty-four panels, each three feet and three inches square, set in frames of narrow iron strips. Each side of the panels was provided with lugs or half hinges, so arranged as to fit any side of any other panel. These could be quickly bolted together with small iron rods, and when so joined they formed a cage of cubical shape, six feet and six inches square.
Any one or more of the panels could be used as a door. The whole structure was painted a dingy green, so that when erected in the forest it was almost invisible in the foliage.
While this cage was not strong enough to withstand a prolonged attack, it afforded a certain degree of immunity from being surprised by the fierce and stealthy beasts of the jungle, and would allow its occupant time to kill an assailant before the wires would yield to an assault from anything except elephants. It was not, indeed, designed as a protection against them; but, as they rarely attack a man unless provoked to it, there was little danger from that source. Besides, there are not many of those huge brutes in the part where this strange domicile was set up.
Through this open fabric one could see on all sides without obstruction, and yet feel a certain sense of safety from being devoured by leopards or panthers.
Over this frail fortress was spread a roof of bamboo leaves. It was provided with curtains of canvas, to be hung up, in case of rain. The floor was of thin boards, steeped in tar. The structure was elevated about two feet from the ground and supported by nine small posts or stakes, firmly driven into the earth. It was furnished with a bed made of heavy canvas. This was supported by two poles of bamboo attached to its edges. One of these poles was lashed fast to the side of the cage, and the other was suspended at night by strong wire hooks hung from the top of the cage. During the day the bed was rolled up on one of the poles, so as to be out of the way. I had a light camp chair, which folded up. A table was improvised from a broad, short board hung on wires. When not in use this was set up by the side of the cage. To this outfit a small kerosene stove and a swinging shelf were added. A few tin cases contained my wearing apparel, blankets, a pillow, a camera and photographic supplies, medicines, and an ample store of canned meats, crackers, etc. There were also some tin platters, cups, and spoons. A magazine rifle, a revolver, ammunition, and a few useful tools, such as hammer, saw, pliers, files, and a heavy bush-knife, completed my stock. The tin plates served for cooking vessels and also for table use, instead of dishes, which are heavier and more fragile.
With this equipment I sailed from New York on the 9th of July, 1892, via England, to the port of Gaboon, the site of the colonial government on the French Congo. This place is within a few miles of the equator, and near the borders of the country in which the gorilla lives. I arrived there on the 19th of October of that year, and after a delay of some weeks in that locality I set out to find the object of my search.
Leaving that place, I went up the Ogow‚ River about two hundred or two hundred and fifty miles, and thence through the lake region on the south side of it. After some weeks of travel and inquiry, I arrived on the south side of Lake Ferran Vaz, in the territory of the Nkami tribe. The lake is about thirty miles long, by ten or twelve miles wide, and is interspersed with a few islands of various sizes, covered with a dense growth of tropical vegetation. The country about the lake is mostly low and marshy, traversed by creeks, lagoons, and rivers. Most of the land is covered by a deep and dreary jungle, intersected at intervals by small, sandy plains, covered with a thin growth of long, tough grass.
It is difficult to convey in words an adequate idea of what the jungle
really is. To those who have never seen one it is almost impossible to
describe it. But in order that you may have some conception of the place
in which I lived so long, I shall endeavor to picture some characteristic
Spread over a vast extent of the low delta region near the coast is a growth of gigantic trees, from five to eight feet in diameter near the base and growing to a height of eighty or a hundred feet, having long, spreading boughs and broad, dark foliage. This growth of trees is sufficiently dense to constitute a great forest. The intertwining boughs and the dense leaves form an impenetrable canopy, spreading for miles in all directions. This is called the "great forest." Between the stalks and under the boughs of this forest is another growth of trees varying in diameter from one to two feet at the base and reaching to a height of forty, fifty, or sixty feet. This growth alone would constitute another forest as dense as were those of North America before the visitation of the white man. This growth is called the "middle forest." Under this is another growth, consisting of palms, vines, shrubs, and bushes of almost every kind. This growth is so dense, so matted and so intertwined as to be in places quite impassable by any living creature, except by slimy reptiles, small rodents, venomous insects, and creeping things of many kinds. This is called the "under forest." The three combined growths together properly constitute the jungle. From the boughs of the taller trees hang long pendants of moss and vines, and from bough to bough hang graceful festoons of the same. These are frequently adorned with delicate ferns and great clusters of gorgeous orchids. So dense and luxuriant is the vegetation in many parts of the forest that no ray of sunlight ever penetrates it, and in its dark, damp grottoes, even at midday, it is almost like a twilight. Here and there are found places more open, and from these can be had better views of its grandeur. Standing alone in the midst of this great wilderness, one cannot fail to be impressed with its sublime and awful beauty. From certain points of view the banks of leaves rise like terraces, one above another, giving almost the appearance of artificial work. From other points are seen groups of flowering trees, rising in huge mounds almost to the top of the forest. So many and so beautiful are the views from various points that one becomes almost lost in a perfect maze of colors, lights, and shadows. At times not a sound of any living thing is heard, and the unspeakable silence only makes the scene the more impressive. While it is true that this great forest teems with life, there are times when it appears to be an endless, voiceless solitude. But, remaining for a time within its dreary shades, one will behold its many denizens creeping through the tangled meshes in quest of food.
Within this vast empire of shadows the fierce wild beasts contend for mastery. Among its dark green bowers soar many birds of brilliant plumage, and through its silvan naves shriek the wild winds of the tornado. Within its deep shadows crouches the leopard awaiting his victim, and through its dismal labyrinth the stealthy serpent wends his tortuous way. Every breeze is laden with the effluvia of decaying plants, and every leaf exhales the odors of death.
In the depths and the gloom of such a forest the gorilla dwells in safety and seclusion. In the same wilderness the chimpanzee makes his abode. But he is less timid and retiring.
On the south side of this lake, not quite two degrees below the equator, and within about twenty miles of the ocean, is the place at which I located, in the heart of the primeval forest. Here I erected my little fortress and gave it the name of Fort Gorilla. On the 27th of April, 1893, I took up my abode in this desolate spot, and began a long and solitary vigil.
My sole companion was a young chimpanzee that I named Moses. From time to time I had a native boy as a servant. But I found it better to be alone and, therefore, when the boy had done his chores he was dismissed until such time as his services might be desired.
Seated in this cage in the silence of the great forest, I have seen the gorilla in all his majesty, strolling at leisure through his sultry domain. Under like conditions I have seen the chimpanzee, and the happy, chattering monkeys in the freedom of their jungle home.
In this novel hermitage I remained most of the time for one hundred and twelve days and nights.
During this period I had opportunities of watching the animals following, in perfect freedom, the pursuits of their daily life. With such an experience I trust that I shall not be charged with vanity in saying that I have seen more of those animals in a state of nature than any other white man ever saw, and under conditions more favorable for a careful study of their manners and habits than could otherwise be possible. Hence what I have to say concerning them is the result of an experience which no other man can justly claim.
I do not mean to ignore or impugn what others have said on this subject; but the sum of my labors in this field leads me to doubt much that has been said and accepted as true. I regret that it devolves upon me to controvert many of the stories told about the great apes, but finding no germ of truth in some of them, I cannot evade the duty of denying them. I regret it all the more, because many of them have been woven into the fabric of natural history, have become integral parts of our literature, and received the seal of scientific approval; but time will justify and sustain me in the denial. I am aware that bigots of certain schools will challenge me for pointing out their mistakes; and some will assume to know more about these apes than fishes know about swimming; but the simple truth should have precedence over all theories.
Before proceeding with an account of the apes I shall relate some of the incidents of my hermitage.
About six o'clock, as the sun first peeps into the forest, it finds me with a tin cup of coffee just made on a little kerosene stove. It is black and dreggy, but with a little sugar it is not bad. With a few dry crackers I break my fast of twelve hours and am now ready for the task of the day. My bed having been rolled up out of the way and Moses helped to a banana or two, I take my rifle, Moses climbs upon my shoulder, and we set out for a walk in the bush. When we return we bring from the spring, some three hundred yards away, a supply of water for the clay. Then Moses climbs about in the bushes and amuses himself, while I watch for gorillas. Silence is the order of the day. And here I sit alone, -- sometimes for hours, -- in a stillness almost as great as that of a tomb.
Presently a rustle of the leaves is heard, and a porcupine comes waddling into view, he pokes his nose about in search of food, but he has not yet discovered my presence. He comes closer. The scent or sight of me startles him, and away he goes. Now a civet comes stealing through the bush, till he observes me and hastily departs.
After an hour of patient waiting the sound of clashing boughs is heard. A few minutes later is seen a school of monkeys, led by a solemn-looking old pilot, who doubtless knows every palm tree that bears nuts within many miles around. They are now coming to inspect my cage and see what new thing this is set up in monkeydom.
As they draw nearer they become more cautious. They find a strong bough in the top of a big tree, and the grave old pilot perches himself far out on it in order to get a good peep at my cage. Just behind him sits the next in rank, resting his hands on the shoulder of the leader, while a dozen more occupy similar attitudes behind each other along the limb. Each one pushes the one just in front of him to make him move up a little closer, but none of them except the pilot seems to want the front seat.
They look on in silence, occasionally turning their little heads from side to side, as if to be certain it is not an illusion. Again they nudge each other, and move up a little closer, meanwhile squinting their bright eyes, as if in doubt about the strange sight before them. They have made such calls before, but have not yet fully determined what kind of an animal it is that occupies the cage. At each successive visit they come a little nearer, until they are now not a hundred feet away. Now they take alarm at something and hurry off in another direction.
Next comes a pangolin, prowling about for insects among the leaves. He catches a glimpse of the cage, stands motionless for a moment to see what it is, and then like a flash he is gone. During this time birds of divers kinds are flying in all directions. Some of them perch on the limbs near by, some pick nuts from the palm trees, while others scream and screech like so many tin whistles or brass horns. The most conspicuous among them are the noisy toucans and parrots. Many of them have brilliant and beautiful plumage.
It is now ten o'clock. Not a breath of air stirs a leaf of the great forest. The heat is sweltering and oppressive. The voices of the birds grow less and less frequent. Even the insects do not appear to be so busy as they were in the earlier hours of the day. Moses has abandoned his rambles in the bush, and sits on a fallen tree, with his arms folded, as if he had finished work for the day.
Along towards this hour everything in the forest seems to become quiet and inactive, and continues so until about two o'clock in the afternoon. I was impressed upon more than one occasion with this universal rest during the hottest part of the day, and the same thing seems to prevail among aquatic animals.
I now prepare my repast for midday by opening a can of meat or fish, and warming it on a tin plate on the little stove. I have no vegetables or dessert, but with a few crackers broken up and stirred into the grease, and plenty of water to drink, I make an ample meal. When it is finished, Moses coils up in his little hammock, swung by my side, and takes his siesta. The boy, when there, stretches out on the floor and does likewise. During the hours about noon, few things are astir, though during that time I have seen some interesting sights.
It must not be supposed that the change is sudden at the beginning or at the end of this period, for such is not the case. There is no fixed time for anything to cease activity. It is by slow degrees that one thing after another becomes quiescent, until life appears to be for a time almost extinct; but as the sun descends the western sky, life and activity revive, and by three o'clock everything is again astir. Now, a lone gorilla comes stalking through the bush, looking for the red fruit of the batuna, a peculiar fruit that grows near the root of the plant. He plucks a bud of some kind, tears it apart with his fingers, smells it, and then throws it aside. Now he takes hold of a tall sapling, looks up at its shaking branches and turns away. He pauses and looks around as if suspicious of danger. He listens to see if anything is approaching, but being reassured he resumes his search for food. Now he gently parts the tangled vines that intercept his way and creeps noiselessly through them. He hesitates, looks carefully around him, and then again proceeds. He is coming this way. I see his black face as he turns his head from side to side, looking for food. What a brutal visage ! It has a scowl upon it, as if he were at odds with all his race. He is now within a few yards of the cage, but is not aware of my presence. He plucks a tendril from a vine, smells it, and puts it into his mouth. He plucks another and another. I shall note that vine and ascertain what it is. Now he is in a small open space where the bush has been cut away so as to afford a better view. He seems to know that this is an unusual thing to find in the jungle. He surveys it with caution. He comes nearer. Now he has detected me. He sits down upon the ground and looks at me as if in utter surprise. A moment more he turns aside, looks over his shoulders, and hurries away into the dense jungle.
It is now four o'clock. I hear a wild pig rooting among the fallen leaves. I see a small rodent that looks like a diminutive hedgehog. He is gnawing the bark from a dead limb, possibly to capture some insect secreted under it. But as rodents usually live upon vegetable diet, he may have some other reason for this.
It is five o'clock and the shadows in the forest are beginning to deepen. I see two little gray monkeys playing in the top of a very tall tree. The birds become monotonous and tiresome. Yonder is a small snake twined around the limb of a bushy tree. He is probably hunting for a nest of young birds. The low muttering sound of distant thunder is heard. Little by little it grows louder. It is the familiar voice of the coming tornado. I must prepare for it.
The stove is now lighted and a shallow pan of water is set upon it. Into it is stirred an ounce of desiccated soup. It is heated to the boiling point, and is then set on the swinging table. A can of mutton is emptied into another pan of the same kind, and a few crackers are broken and stirred into the mutton. The soup is eaten while the meat is being warmed. This is now ready, and the flame of the stove is turned off. The second course of dinner is now served. It consists of canned mutton, crackers, and water. The dishes, consisting of three tin platters and a cup, are thrust into the adjacent bush. The ants and other insects will clean them during the night.
Moses has now had his supper and has gone to his own little house, to find shelter from the approaching storm. The curtains are hung up on the side of the cage towards which the tornado is coming. The leaves of the forest begin to rustle. It is the first cool breath of the day, but it is the herald of the furious wind that is rapidly advancing. The tree-tops begin to sway. Now they are lashing each other as if in anger. The strong trees are bending from the wind. The lightning is so vivid that it is blinding. The thunder is terrific. One shaft after another, the burning bolts are hurled through the moaning forest.
Down the frail wires of my cage the water runs in little rivulets. Acting as a prism, it refracts the vivid lightning and makes the whole fabric look like a latticework of molten fire trickling down from the overhanging boughs. Like invisible demons the shrieking winds rush through the bending forest, and the unceasing roar of the thunder reverberates from the dark recesses of the jungle. Amid the din of storming forces is heard the dull thud of falling trees, and the crackling limbs are dropping all around. All nature is in a rage. Every bird and every beast now seeks a place of refuge from the warring elements. No sign of life is visible. No sound is audible save the voice of the storm. How unspeakably desolate the jungle is at such an hour no fancy can depict. How utterly helpless against the wrath of nature a living creature is no one can realize, except by living through such an hour in such a place.
On one occasion five large trees were blown down within a radius of a few hundred feet of my cage. Scores of limbs were broken off by the wind and scattered like straws. Some of them were six or eight inches in diameter and ten or twelve feet long. One of them broke the corner of the bamboo roof over my cage. The limb was broken off a huge cotton tree near by and fell from a height of about sixty feet. It was carried by the wind some yards out of a vertical line as it fell, and just passed far enough to spare my cage. Had it struck the body of it, the cage would have been partly demolished; the main stem of the bough was about six inches in diameter and ten feet long. This particular tornado lasted for nearly three hours and was the most violent of all I saw during the entire year.
Now the storm subsides, but the darkness is impenetra ble. I have no light of any kind, for that would alarm the inhabitants of the jungle and attract a vast army of insects from all quarters. Moses is fast asleep, while I sit listening to the many strange and weird sounds heard in the jungle at night. The bush crackles near by. A huge leopard is creeping through it. He is coming this way. Slowly, cautiously, he approaches. I cannot see him in the deep shadows of the foliage, but I can locate him by sound, and identify him by his peculiar tread. Perhaps when he gets near enough he will attack the cage. He is creeping up closer. He evidently smells prey and is bent on seizing it. My rifle stands by my elbow. I silently raise it and lay it across my lap. The brute is now crouching within a few yards of me, but I cannot see to shoot him. I hear him move again, as if adjusting himself to spring upon the cage. He surely cannot see it, but by means of scent he has located me. I hear a low rustling of the leaves as he swishes his tail preparatory to a leap. If I could only touch a button and turn on a bright electric light ! He remains crouching near, while I sit with the muzzle of the rifle turned towards him. My hand is on the lock. It is a trying moment. If he should spring with such force as to break the frail network that is between us, there could be but one fate for me.
In the brief space of a few seconds a thousand things run through one's mind. They are not necessarily prompted by fear, but rather by suspense. Is it best to fire into the black shadows or to wait for the leopard's attack? What is his exact pose? What does he intend? How big is he? Can he see me? A category of similar questions rises at this critical moment.
A clash of bushes and he is gone; not with the stealthy, cautious steps with which he advanced, but in hot haste. He has taken alarm, abandoned his purpose, and far away can be heard the dry twigs crashing as he hurries to some remote nook. He flees as if he thought he was being pursued. He is gone, and I feel a sense of relief.
It is ten o'clock. The low rumbling of distant thunder is all that remains of the tornado that swept over the forest a few hours ago. The stars are shining, but the foliage of the forest is so dense, that one can only see here and there a star peeping through the tangled boughs overhead. I hear some little waif among the dead leaves, but what it is or what it wants can only be surmised.
Another hour has passed, and I retire for the night. The sounds of nocturnal birds are fewer now. I hear a strange, tremulous sound from the boughs of the bushes near the cage. The leaves are vibrating. The sound ceases and again begins at intervals. I listen with attention, for it is a singular sound. It is the movement of a huge python in search of birds. He reaches out his head, stretches his neck, grasps the bough of a slender bush, releases his coil from another, and by contraction draws his slimy body forward. The pliant bough yields to his heavy weight. The abrasion causes it to tremble and the leaves to quake.
I fall asleep and rest in comfort, while the dew that has fallen upon the leaves gathers itself into huge drops; their weight bends the leaves, and they fall from their lofty place, striking with a sharp, popping sound the big leaves far below them. The hours fly by; but in the stillness of early morning is heard a most unearthly scream. It is the voice of a king gorilla. He makes every leaf in the forest tremble with the sound of his piercing shrieks.
Thus another night is erased from the calendar of time and another day begins. The dawn awakes to life the teeming forest, and all its denizens again go forth to join the universal chase for food.
All of the incidents here cited are true in every detail, but they did not occur every day, nor did all of them occur on the same day, as might be inferred from the manner in which they are related. But this recital gives a fair idea of the daily routine in the bosom of the great forest, although this is a mere glimpse of the scenes of life in the jungle. By going out for a day or two at a time, hunting on the plains a few miles away, I often relieved the monotony. My menu was occasionally varied by a mess of parrot soup, a piece of goat, fish, or porcupine; but the general average of it was about as has been described.
In his distribution he is confined to equatorial Africa. his habitat, roughly outlined, is from the fourth parallel north of the equator to the fifth parallel south of it, along the west coast, and extends eastward a little more than halfway across the continent. His range cannot be defined with precision, for its exact limits are not yet known. Its boundary on the north is defined by the Cameroon valley, slightly curving towards the north; but its extent eastward is a matter of some doubt. He does not appear to be found anywhere north of that river, and it is quite certain that the few specimens attributed to the north coast of the Gulf of Guinea do not belong to that territory. On the south the boundary of his habitat starts from the coast, at a point near the fifth parallel, curves slightly northward, crosses the Congo near Stanley Pool, pursues a northeasterly course to about the middle of the Congo State, and again curves southward across the Upper Congo, not far from the north end of Lake Tanganyika. Its limits appear to conform more to isothermal lines than to the rigid lines of geography. Specimens are sometimes secured by collectors beyond these limits, but, so far as I have been able to ascertain, they have been captured within the territory thus bounded. There are several centers of population. This ape is not strictly confined to any definite topography, but occupies alike the upland forests or the low basin lands.
In one section he is known to the natives by one name, and in another by a name entirely different. The name chimpanzee is of native origin. In the Fiote tongue the name of the ape is chimpan, which is a slight corruption of the true name. It is properly a compound word. The first syllable is from the Fiote word tyi, which white men erroneously pronounce like "chee." It means "small," or inferior, and it is found in many of the native compounds. The last syllable is from mpa, a bushman; hence the word literally means, in the Fiote tongue, "a small bushman," or inferior race. The name really implies the idea of a lower order of human being. Among other tribes a common name of the ape is ntyigo. The latter is derived from the Mpongwe word ntyia, blood, race, or breed, and the word iga, the forest. It literally means the "breed of the forest." The same idea of its being a low type of humanity is involved in the two names. Both convey the oblique suggestion that the animal is more nearly allied to man than other animals are.
There are two distinct types of this ape. They are now regarded as two species. One of them is distributed throughout the entire habitat described, while the other is only known south of the equator and between the second and fifth parallels north of the Congo and west of Stanley Pool. Both kinds are found within this district, but the variety which is confined to that region is called, by the tribes that know the ape, the kulu-kamba, in contradistinction from the other kind known as ntyigo. This name is derived from kulu, the onomatope of the sound made by the animal and the native verb, kamba, to speak; hence the name literally means "the thing that speaks kulu."
In certain respects the common variety differs from the kulu-kamba in a degree that would indicate that they belong to distinct species; but the skulls and the skeletons are so nearly alike that no one can identify them from the skeletons alone. In life, however, it is not difficult to dis tinguish them. The ntyigo has a longer face and more prominent nose than the kulu. His complexion is of all shades of brown, from a light tan to a dark, dingy, mummy color. He has a thin coat of short, black hair, which is often erroneously described as brown; but that effect is due to the blending of the color of his skin with that of his suit. In early life his hair is quite black, but in advanced age the ends are tipped with a dull white, giving them a dingy gray color. The change is due to the same causes that produce gray hairs on the human body. But there is one point in which they greatly differ. The entire hair of the human becomes white with age, while only the outer end of it does so in the chimpanzee. In the human one hair becomes white, while others retain their natural color; but in this ape all the hairs appear to undergo the same change. In very aged specimens the outer part of the hair often assumes a dirty, brownish color. This is due to the want of vascular action to supply the color pigment. The same effect is often seen in preserved specimens, for the same reason that the hair of an Egyptian mummy is brown, though in life it had been, doubtless, a jet black. In this ape the hair is uniformly black, except the small tuft of white at the base of the spinal column and a few white hairs on the lower lip and the chin. I have examined about sixty living specimens, and I have never found any other color among them, except from the cause mentioned. The normal color of both sexes is the same. The kulu has, as a rule, but little hair on the top of the head; but that on the back of it and on the neck is much longer than elsewhere on the body, and on these parts it is longer than that on other apes.
Much stress is laid by some writers on the bald head of one ape and the parted hair on the head of another. These features cannot be relied upon as having any specific meaning, unless there are as many species as there are apes. Sometimes a specimen has no hair on the crown of the head, while another differs from it in this respect alone by having a suit of hair more or less dense; and yet in every other respect they are alike. Some of them have their hair growing almost down to the eyebrows, and all hairs appear to diverge from a common center, like the radii of a sphere; another of the same species may have the hair parted in the middle as neatly as if it had been combed; another may have it in wild disorder. The same thing is noticed in certain monkeys, and it is equally true of the human being. As a factor in classifying, it signifies nothing. It may be remarked that the kulu is inclined to have but little hair upon the crown of the head.
Between the two species there is a close alliance. The males differ more than the females. This is especially true in the structure of certain organs. The face of the young ntyigo is free from hairs, but in the adult state there is in both sexes a tendency to the growth of a light down upon the cheeks. The color of the skin is not uniform in all parts of the body. This is especially true of the face. Some specimens have patches of dark color set in a lighter ground. Sometimes certain parts of the face are dark and other parts light. I have seen one specimen quite freckled. It is said by some that the skin is light in color when young, and becomes darker with age; but I find no reason to believe that such is the case. It is true that the skin darkens a few shades as the cuticle hardens, but there is no transition from one color to another, and this slight change of shade is chiefly on the exposed parts.
The kulu has a short, round face, much like that of a human. In early life it is quite free from hairs, but, like the other, a slight down appears with age. He has on his body a heavy suit of black hair. It is coarser and longer than that of the ntyigo. It is also inclined to wave, thus having a fluffy aspect. The color is jet black, except a small tuft of white about the base of the spine. I have seen two in which this tuft was perfectly black. The skin varies in color less than in the ntyigo, and the darker shades are seldom found. The eyes are a shade darker, and in both species the parts of the eye which are white in man are brown in them. But this gradually shades off into a yellow near the base of the optic nerve. As a rule, the kulu has a clear, open visage, with a kindly expression. It is confiding and affectionate to a degree beyond any other animal. It is more intelligent than its confrŠre, and displays the faculty of reason almost like a human being.
One important point in which these two types of ape differ is in the scope and quality of their voices. The kulu makes a greater range of vocal sounds. Some of them are soft and musical; but those uttered by the ntyigo are fewer in number and harsher in quality. One of these sounds resembles the bark of a dog, and another is a sharp, screaming sound. The kulu evinces a certain sense of gratitude, while the ntyigo appears to be almost devoid of that sentiment. There are many traits in which they differ, but human beings, even within the same family circle, also differ in these qualities. The points in which they coincide are many, and, after a brief review of them, we may consider the question of making two species of them or assigning them to the same.
The skeletons -- as we have noted -- are the same in form, size, and proportion. Their muscular, nervous, and veinous systems are for the most part the same. The character of their food and the mode of eating are the same in each. In captivity they appear to regard each other as one of their own kind; but whether they intercross or not remains to be learned.
Such is the sum of the likenesses and the differences between the two extreme types of this genus. With so many points in common, and so few in which they differ, it is a matter of serious doubt whether they can be said to constitute two distinct species or only two varieties of a common species. This doubt is further emphasized by the fact that all the way between these two extremes are gradations of intermediate types, so that it is next to impossible to say where one ends and another begins.
In view of all these facts, I believe them to be two well-defined varieties of the same species. They are the white man and the negro of a common stock. They are the patrician and the plebeian of one race, or the nobility and the yeomanry of one tribe. They are like different phases of the same moon. The kulu-kamba is simply a high order of chimpanzee. It is quite true that two varieties of one species usually have the same vocal characteristics, and this appears to be the strongest point in favor of assigning them to separate species, but it is not impossible that even this may be waived. Leaving this question for others to decide as they find the evidence to sustain them, we shall for the present regard them as one kind, and consider their physical, social, and mental characteristics.
Whether they are all of one species, or divided into many, the same habits, traits, and modes of life prevail throughout the entire group, so that one description will apply to all, so far as we have to deal with them as a whole. Elsewhere will be related certain incidents which apply to individuals of the two kinds mentioned; but in treating of them collectively the term chimpanzee is meant to include the whole group, except where it is otherwise specified.
The hand of the chimpanzee is long and narrow. The finger bones are larger, in proportion to their size, than those of the human hand. One thing peculiar to the hand of the chimpanzee is that the tendons inside of the hand (those called the flexors), which are designed to close the fingers, are shorter than the line of the bones. On this account the fingers of the ape are always held in a curve. He cannot straighten them. This is probably due to the habit of climbing, in which he indulges to such a great extent. He also indulges in the practice of hanging suspended by the hands. In making his way through the bush he often swings himself by the arms from bough to bough. Sometimes he suspends himself by one arm, while he uses the other to pluck and eat fruit. This characteristic is transmitted to the young, and is found in the first stages of infancy. The thumb is not truly opposable, but is inclined to close towards the palm of the hand. It is of little use to him. His nails are thick, dark in color, and not quite so flat as those of man.
The great toe, instead of being in line with the others, projects at an angle from the side of the foot, something after the manner of the human thumb. The foot itself is quite flexible and has great prehensile power. In climbing, and in many other ways, it is used as a hand. The tendons in the sole of the foot are equal in length to the line of the bones, and the digits of the foot can be straightened; but from the habitual use of them in climbing, the ape is predisposed to close the digits, wherefore the foot is naturally inclined to curve into an arch, especially in the line of the first and second digits.
His habit of walking is peculiar. The greater part of the weight is borne upon the legs. The sole of the foot is placed almost flat on the ground, but the pressure is greatest along the outer edge, in the line of the last digit. This is easily noticed where he walks over plastic ground. In the act of walking he always uses the hands, but he does not place the palms on the ground. He uses the backs of the fingers instead. Sometimes only the first joints or phalanges, resting upon the nails, are placed on the ground. At other times the first and second joints are used. I have seen one specimen that, when walking, employed the backs of all his fingers, from the knuckles to the nails. The integument on these parts is not callous, like that of the palm. The color pigment is distributed the same as on other exposed parts of the body. These facts show that the weight of the body is not borne on the fore limbs, as it is in the case of a true quadruped, but indicate that the hand is only used to balance the body while in the act of walking and to shift the weight from foot to foot. The weight is, therefore, not equally distributed between the hands and the feet, and the animal cannot truly be said to be a quadruped in habit.
His waddling gait is caused by his short legs, stooping habit, and heavy body. All animals having stout bodies and short legs are predisposed to a waddling motion, which is due to the wide angle between the weight and the changing center of gravity. This motion is more conspicuous in bipeds than in quadrupeds, because the base supporting the weight is reduced to a single point.
The chimpanzee is neither a true quadruped nor a true biped, but combines the habits of both. It appears to be a transition state from the former to the latter. Vestiges of this mixed habit are still to be found in man. In the act of walking his arms alternate in motion with his legs. This suggests the idea that he may have had, at some time, a similar habit of locomotion. Such a fact does not necessarily show that he was ever an ape, but it does point to the belief that he has once occupied a horizon in nature like that now occupied by the ape, and that having emerged from it, he still retains traces of the habit. This peculiarity is still more easily observed in children than in adults. In early infancy all children are inclined to be bowlegged. In their first efforts at walking they invariably press most of their weight on the outer edge of the foot and curve the toes inward, as if to grasp the surface on which the foot is placed. The instinct of prehension cannot be mistaken. It differs in degree in different races, and is vastly more pronounced in negro infants than in white ones.
There is another peculiar feature in the walk of the chimpanzee. The arms and legs do not alternate in motion with the same degree of regularity that they do in man or quadrupeds. This ape uses his arms more like crutches. They are moved forward, not quite, but almost at the same instant, and the motion of the legs is not at equal intervals. To be more explicit: the hands are placed almost opposite each other; the right foot is advanced about three times its length; the left foot is then placed about one length in front of the right; the arms are again moved; the right foot is again advanced about three lengths forward of the left; and the left again brought about one length in front of that. The same animal does not always use the same foot to make the long stride. It will be seen by this that each foot moves through the same space, and that, in a line, the tracks of either foot are the same distance apart; but the distance from the track of the right foot to that of the left is about three times as great as the distance from the track of the left foot to that of the right. Or the reverse may be the case. The distance from the track of either foot to the succeeding track of the other is never the same between the right and left tracks, except where the animal is walking at great leisure.
There is, perhaps, no animal more awkward than the chimpanzee, when he attempts to run. He sometimes swings his body with such force between his arms as to lose his balance and fall backward on the ground. Sometimes when he rights himself again, he is half his length backward of his starting point.
The chimpanzee is doubtless a better climber than the gorilla. He finds much of his food in trees; but he is not, in the proper sense of the term, arboreal. To be arboreal, the animal must be able to sleep in a tree or on a perch. The chimpanzee cannot do so. He sleeps the same as a human being does. He lies down on his back or side, and frequently uses his arms for a pillow. I do not believe it possible for him to sleep on a perch. He may sometimes doze in that way, but the grasp of his foot is only brought into use when he is conscious. I have often known Moses to climb down from the trees and lie upon the ground to take a nap. I never saw him so much as doze in any other position.
I may here call attention to one fact concerning the arboreal habit. There appears to be a rule to which this habit conforms. Among apes and monkeys the habit is in keeping with the size of the animal. The largest monkeys are found only among the lowest trees, and the small monkeys among the taller trees. It is a rare thing to see a large monkey in the top of a tall tree. He may venture there for food or to make his escape, but it is not his proper element. The same rule appears to hold good among the apes. The gibbon has the arboreal habit in a more pronounced degree than any other true ape. The orang appears to be next; the chimpanzee comes in for third place, and the gorilla last. It must not be understood that all of these apes do not frequently climb, even to the tops of the highest trees; but that is not their normal mode of life, any more than the top of a mast is the habitual place for a sailor on a ship.
The chimpanzee is nomadic in habit, and, like the gorilla, seldom or never passes two nights in the same spot. As to his building huts or nests in trees or elsewhere, I am not prepared to believe that he ever does that. For months I hunted in vain and made diligent inquiry in several tribes, but failed to find a specimen of any kind of shelter built by an ape. I do not assert that it is absolutely untrue that he does this, but I have never been able to obtain any evidence of it, except the statement of the natives. On the contrary, certain facts point to the opposite belief. If the ape built himself a permanent home, the natives would soon discover it and there would be no difficulty in having it pointed out. If he built a new one every night, however rude and primitive it might be, there would be so many of them in the forest that there would be no difficulty in finding them. The nomadic habit plainly shows that he does not build the former kind, and the utter absence of them shows that he does not build the latter kind. The whole story appears to be without foundation.
In addition to these facts, one thing to be noticed is that few or none of the mammals of the tropics ever build any kind of home. The animals that in other climates have the habit of burrowing do not appear to do so in the tropics. This is due, no doubt, to the warm climate, in which they are not in need of shelter. Of course birds and other oviparous animals build nests, as they do elsewhere. The period of incubation makes this necessary.
The longevity of these apes is largely a matter of conjecture, but from a cursory study of their dentition and other facts of their development, it appears that the male reaches the adult stage at an age ranging from eight to ten years, while the female matures between six and eight. These appear to be the periods at which they pass from the state of adolescence. Some of them live to be perhaps forty years of age, or upwards, but the average life is probably not more than twenty-one to twenty-three years. The average of life is, doubtless, more uniform with them than with man. These figures arc not mere guesswork, but are deduced from reliable data.
The period of gestation in both these apes is a matter that cannot be stated with certainty. Some of the natives say that it is nine months, while others believe that it is seven months or less. There are some facts to support each of these claims, but nothing is quite conclusive. The sum of the evidence that I could find rather points to a term of four and a half months, or thereabouts, as the true period. During the months of January and February the male gorillas are vociferous in their screaming, the young adults separate from the families, and other things indicate that this is the season of pairing and breeding. They may not be strictly confined to this period, but the infer ence that they are so is well founded. It is quite certain that the season of bearing the young is from the beginning of May to the end of June. It is about this time that the dry season begins, and it continues for four months. It would appear that nature has selected this period of the year because it is more favorable for rearing the young. During this season food is more abundant and can be secured with less effort. The lowlands are drier, and this enables the mother to retire with her young to the dense jungle, where she is less exposed to danger than she would be in the more open forest. It is uncertain whether or not the periods are the same with both apes. Native reports differ on this point. But it is probable that they are the same. The average of this season is about four and a half moons, or eighteen weeks.
From a social point of view the chimpanzee appears to be of a little higher caste than other apes. In his marital ideas he is polygamous, but is in a certain degree loyal to his family. The paternal instinct is a trifle more refined in him than in other simians. He seems to appreciate better the relationship of parent and child and to retain it longer than others do. Most male animals become estranged from their young and discard them at a very early age. The chimpanzee keeps his children with him until they are old enough to go away and rear families of their own.
The family of the chimpanzee frequently consists of three or four wives and ten or twelve children, with one adult male. There are known cases in which two or three adult males have been seen in the same family, but each one having his own wives and children. In such an event there seems to be one who is supreme. This fact suggests the idea that among them a form of patriarchal government prevails. The wives and children do not apparently question the authority of the patriarch or rebel against it. The male parent often plays with his children and is seemingly very fond of them.
There is one universal error that I desire here to correct. It is the common idea that animals are so strongly pos sessed of the paternal instinct that they nobly sacrifice their own lives in defense of their young. I do not wish to dispel any belief that tends to dignify or ennoble animals, for I am their friend and champion. But truth demands that this statement be qualified. It is quite true that many have lost their lives in such acts of defense, but it was not a voluntary sacrifice. It is not alone in the defense of their young, but in many cases it is an act of self-defence. In other instances it is from a lack of judgment. These apes have often been frightened away from their young and the latter captured while the parents were fleeing from the scene. This may have been the result of sagacity rather than of depravity; but the parental instinct in both sexes and in many instances has failed to restrain them from flight. If it be a foe that appears to come within the measure of their own power, they will defend their young, and this sometimes results in the loss of their own lives; but if it be one of such formidable aspect as to appear quite invincible, the parents leave the young to their fate. This is true of all animals, including mankind.
I have no desire to detract from the heroic quality of this instinct or to dim the glory it sheds upon the noble deeds ascribed to it, but the fact that a parent incurs the risk of its own life in the defense of its young is not a true test of the strength or quality of this instinct. It is only in the few isolated cases of a voluntary sacrifice of the parent, foreknowing the result, that it can be said the act was due to instinct. In most such cases the parent acts under a belief in its own ability to rescue the one in danger, the parent not being wholly aware of its own peril. I doubt if any animal except man ever deliberately offered its own life as a ransom for that of another. Such instances in human history are so rare as to immortalize the actor.
To whatever extent the instinct may be found, it is much stronger in the female than in the male, and it appears to be stronger in domestic animals than in wild ones. To what extent this is due to their contact with man, it is difficult to say. The germ may be inherent, but it responds to culture.
The fact that the ape deserts its offspring under certain conditions may be taken as an evidence of superior intelligence affording it a higher appreciation of life and danger, rather than a low, brutish impulse. It is the exercise of superior judgment that causes man to act with more prudence than other animals. It does not detract from his nobleness.
Within the family circle of the chimpanzee the father is supreme; but he does not degrade his royalty by being a tyrant. Each member of the family seems to have certain rights that are not impugned by others. Possession is the right of ownership. When one ape procures a certain article of food, the others do not try to dispossess him. It is probably from this source that man inherits the idea of private ownership. It is the same principle, amplified, by which nations claim the right of territory. Nations often violate this right, and so do chimpanzees, when not held in check by something more potent than a mere abstract sense of justice. With all due respect, I do not think the ape so much abuses the right by urging his claim beyond his real needs as nations sometimes do.
When a member of a family of apes is ill, the others are quite conscious of the fact and evince a certain amount of solicitude. Their conduct indicates that they have, in a small degree, the passion of sympathy, but the emotion is feeble and wavering. So far as I know, they do not essay any treatment, except to soothe and comfort the sufferer. They surely have some definite idea of what death is, and I have sometimes had reason to believe that they have a name for it. They do not readily abandon their sick, but when one of them is unable to travel with the band the others rove about for days, keeping within call of it; but they do not minister to its wants. It is said that if one of them is wounded the others will rescue it if possible and convey it to a place of safety. I cannot vouch for this, as such an incident has never come within my own experience.
One of the most remarkable of all the social habits of the chimpanzee is the kanjo, as it is called in the native tongue. The word does not mean " dance " in the sense of saltatory gyrations, but it implies more the idea of "carnival." It is believed that more than one family take part in these festivities. Here and there in the jungle is found a small spot of sonorous earth. It is irregular in shape and about two feet across. The surface is of clay and is artificial. The clay is superimposed upon a kind of peat bed, which, being porous, acts as a resonance cavity and intensifies the sound. This constitutes a kind of drum. It yields rather a dead sound, but this is of con siderable volume.
This queer drum is thus made by the chimpanzees. They secure the clay along the banks of some stream in the vicinity. They carry it by hand, deposit it while in a plastic state, spread it over the place selected, and let it dry. I have placed in the museum of Buffalo, N.Y., a part of one of these drums that I brought home with me from the Nkami forest. It shows the finger-prints of the apes. They were impressed in it while the mud was yet soft.
After the drum is quite dry, the chimpanzees assemble by night in great numbers and the carnival begins. One or two of them beat violently on this dry clay, while others jump up and down in a wild and grotesque manner. Some of them utter long, rolling sounds, as if trying to sing. When one tires of beating the drum, another relieves him, and in this fashion the festivities continue for hours. I know of nothing like this in the social system of any other animal, but what it signifies or what its origin was is quite beyond my knowledge. They do not indulge in this kanjo in all parts of their domain, nor does it occur at regular intervals.
The chimpanzee is averse to solitude. He is fond of the society of man and is, therefore, easily domesticated. If allowed to go at liberty, he is well disposed, and is strongly attached to man. If confined, he becomes vicious and ill-tempered. All animals, including man, have the same tendency. Mentally the chimpanzee occupies a high plane within his own sphere of life, but within those limits the faculties of the mind are not called into frequent exercise and, therefore, they are not so active as they are in man.
It is difficult to compare the mental status of the ape to that of man, because there is no common basis upon which the two rest. Their modes of life are so unlike as to afford no common unit of measure. Their faculties are developed along different lines. The two have but few problems in common to solve. While the scope of the human mind is vastly wider than that of the ape, it does not follow that it can act in all things with more precision. There are, perhaps, instances in which the mind of the ape excels that of man by reason of its adaptation to certain conditions. It is not a safe and infallible guide to measure all things by the standard of man's opinion of himself. It is quite true that, by such a unit of measure, the comparison is much in favor of man; but the conclusion is neither just nor adequate. It is a problem of great interest, however, to compare them in this manner, and the result indicates that a fair specimen of adult ape is in about the same mental horizon as a child of one year old. But if the operation were reversed and man were placed under the natural conditions of the ape, the comparison would prove much less in favor of man. There is no common mental unit between them.
On problems that concern his own comfort or safety the chimpanzee exercises the faculty of reason with a fair degree of precision. He is quick to interpret motives or to discern intents, and he is a rare judge of character. He is inquisitive, but not so imitative as monkeys are. He is more observant of the relations of cause and effect. In his actions he is controlled by more definite motives. He is docile and quickly learns anything that hes within the range of his own mental plane.
The opinion has long prevailed that these apes subsist upon a vegetable diet. That is a mistake. In this respect their habits are much the same as those of man, except that the latter has learned to cook, but the former eats his food raw. Their natural tastes are greatly diversified, and they are not all equally fond of the same articles of food. Most of them arc partial to the wild mango, which grows in abundance in certain localities in the forest. This is often available when other kinds of food are scarce. It thus becomes, as it were, a staple article of food. There are many kinds of nuts to be found in their domain, but the nut of the oil palm is a great favorite. They sometimes eat the kola nut, but they are not partial to it. Several kinds of small fruits and berries also form part of their diet. They eat the stalks of some plants, the tender buds of others, and the tendrils of certain vines. The names of these vines I do not know.
Most of the fruits and plants that are relished by them are either acidulous or bitter in taste. They are not espe cially fond of sweet fruits. They prefer those having the flavors mentioned. They eat bananas, pineapples, or other sweet fruits, but rarely do so from choice. Most of them appear to prefer a lime to an orange, a plantain to a banana, a kola nut to a sweet mango. In captivity they acquire a taste for sweet foods of all kinds.
In addition to these articles they devour birds, lizards, and small rodents. They rob birds of their eggs and their young. They make havoc of many kinds of large insects. Those that I have owned were fond of cooked meats and salt fish, either raw or cooked.
During my researches I have learned ten words of the speech of this ape, so that I can understand them and make myself understood by them. In tone, pitch, and modulation most of the sounds are within the compass of the human voice. Two of them are much greater in volume than it is possible for the human lungs to reach, and one of them rises to a pitch more than an octave higher than a human voice of middle pitch. These two sounds are audible at a great distance, but they do not properly fall within the limits of speech.
The vocal organs of the chimpanzee resemble those of man as closely as other physical features have been shown to resemble. They differ slightly in one respect that is worthy of notice. Just above the opening called the glottis (which is the opening between the vocal cords) are two small sacs or ventricles. In the ape these are larger and more flexible than in man. In the act of speaking they arc inflated by the air passing out of the lungs into the long tube called the larynx. The function of these ventricles is to control and modify the sound by increasing or decreasing the pressure of the air that is jetted through the tube. They serve at the same time as a reservoir and as a gauge.
In the louder sounds uttered by the chimpanzee these ventricles greatly distend. This intensifies the voice or increases its volume. It is partly due to these little sacs that the ape is able to make such a loud and piercing scream. But the pitch and volume of his voice cannot be alone due to this cause, for the gorilla (in which these ventricles are much smaller) can make a vastly louder sound. We may be mistaken, however, about the sound commonly ascribed to him.
Although the sounds made by the chimpanzee can be imitated by the human voice, they cannot be expressed or represented by any system of phonetic symbols in use among men. Alphabets have been deduced from pictographs, and the conventional symbol that is used to represent a given sound has no reference to the organs of speech that produced it. The few rigid lines that have survived and that now form the alphabets are within themselves meaningless, but they have been so long used to represent the elementary sounds of speech that it would be difficult to supplant them with others.
As no literal formula can be made to represent the phonetic elements of the speech of chimpanzees, I have taken a new step in the art of writing. I suggest a system of symbols which is rational in method and simple in device.
The organs of speech always act in harmony. A certain movement of the lips is always attended by a certain movement of the internal organs of speech. This is true of the ape as well as of man. In order to utter the same sounds, each would employ the same organs and use them in the same manner.
By this means deaf-mutes are able to distinguish the sounds of speech and to reproduce them, although they do not hear them. By close study and long practice they learn to distinguish the most delicate shades of sound.
In this plain fact lies the clue to the method I offer for consideration. As yet it is only in the infant stage, but it is possible to be made, with a very few symbols, to repre sent the whole range of vocal sounds made by man or other animals.
The chief symbols I employ are the parentheses used in common print. The two curved lines placed with the convex sides opposite, thus, ( ), represent the open glottis, in which position the voice utters the broad sound of "A," as in "father." The glottis about half closed utters the sound of "O." To represent this sound a period is inserted between the two curved lines, thus, (.). When the aperture is still more contracted it produces the sound of "U," like ''" in " woo." To represent this sound a colon is placed between the lines, thus, (:). When the aperture is restricted to a still smaller compass the sound of "U" short is uttered, as in "but." To represent this sound an apostrophe is placed between the lines, thus, ('). When the vocal cords are brought to a greater tension, and the aperture is almost closed, it utters the short sound of "E," as in "met." To represent this sound a hyphen is inserted between the lines, thus, (-). These are the main vowel sounds of all animals, although in man they are sometimes modified, and to them is added the sound of "E" long, while in the ape the long sounds of "O" and "E" are rarely heard.
From this vowel basis all other sounds may be developed, and by the use of diacritics to indicate the movements of the organs of speech the consonant elements are indicated.
A single parenthesis, with the concave side to the left, will represent the initial sound of ' W," which sometimes occurs in the sounds of animals. When used, it is placed on the left side of the leading symbol, thus, ) ( ), and this symbol, as it stands, is pronounced nearly like '' O-A," the "O" being suppressed until almost inaudible. Turning the concave side to the right, and placing it on the right side of the symbol, thus, ( ) (, it represents the vanishing sound of "WV." This symbol reads "A-O," with the latter vocal suppressed into the terminal sound of "O." The apostrophe placed before or after the symbol will represent "F " or "V." The grave accent, thus, Š, represents the breathing sound of "H," whether placed before or after the symbol, and the acute accent, thus, ‚, represents the aspirate sound of that letter.
When the symbol is written with a numeral exponent, it indicates the degree of pitch. If there is no figure, the sound is such as would be made by the human voice in ordinary speech. The letter "X" indicates a repetition of the sound, and the numeral placed after it will show the number of times repeated, instead of the pitch. For example, we will write the sound (.), which is equivalent to long "O," made in a normal tone; the same symbol written thus (.)2 indicates that the sound is made with greater energy, and about five semitones higher. To write it thus, (.)2 X, indicates that the sound is five semitones above the normal pitch of the human voice and is once repeated.
I shall not subject the reader to the tedium of elaborate details of the system here outlined. This brief exposé of the method of representing the sounds of animals is sufficient to convey an idea of the means by which it is possible to write the sounds of all animals, so that the student of phonetics will recognize at once the character of the sound, even if he cannot reproduce it by natural means.
It may be of interest to describe the character and use of some of the sounds uttered by the chimpanzee. The most frequent sound made by animals is that referring to food, and therefore it may claim the first attention. This word in the language of the chimpanzee begins with the short sound of the vowel "U," which blends into a strong breathing sound of "H." The lips are compressed at the sides, and the aperture of the mouth is nearly round. It is not difficult to imitate, and the ape readily understands it even when poorly made. By the method of writing above described it is expressed thus, (I)'.
A sound that is of frequent use among them is that used for calling. The vowel element is "U" long, slightly sharpened. It merges into a distinct vanishing "W." Expressed in symbols, it is (:) (. The food sound is often repeated two or three times in succession, but the call is rarely repeated, except at long intervals.
One sound which is rather soft and musical is an expression of friendship or amity. It appears to soften in tone and lengthen in duration in a degree commensurate with the intensity of the sentiment. The vowel element is a long "U." It blends into an aspirated "H." It is fairly represented by the symbol (:)'.
The most complex sound that I have so far heard made by them is the one elsewhere described as meaning "good." They often use it in very much the same sense as man uses the expression "thanks," or "thank you." It is not probable that they use it as a polite term, yet the same idea is present.
One of the words of warning or alarm contains a vowel element closely resembling the short sound of "E." It terminates with the breathing sound of "H." It is used to announce the approach of anything that the animal is familiar with, and not afraid of. If the warning is intended to apprise you of the approach of an enemy, or something strange, the same vowel element is used, but terminates with the aspirate sound of "H" pronounced with energy and distinctness. The vowel element is the same in both words, but they differ in the time required to utter them, and the final breathing and aspirate effects. There is also a difference in the manner of the speaker in the act of delivering the word. It plainly indicates that he knows the use and value of the sounds. At the approach of danger the latter word is often given almost in a whisper, and at long intervals apart, increasing in loudness as the danger approaches. The other word is usually spoken distinctly, and frequently repeated. It is worthy of note that the natives use a similar word in the same manner and for the same purpose.
There are other sounds which are easily identified but difficult to describe, such as that used to signify "cold" or "discomfort"; another for "drink" or "thirst," another referring to "illness," and still another which I have reason to believe means "dead" or "death." There are perhaps a dozen more words that can readily be distinguished, but as yet I have not been able to determine their exact meanings. I have an opinion concerning some of them, but have not yet reached a final conclusion about them.
The chimpanzee makes use of a few signs which may be regarded as auxiliary factors of expression. He makes a negative sign by moving the head from side to side in the same manner as man does, but the gesture is not frequent or pronounced. Another negative sign, which is more common, is a wave-like motion of the hand from the body towards the person or thing addressed. This sign is sometimes made with great emphasis. There is no question as to its meaning. The manner of making this sign is not uniform. Sometimes it is done by an urgent motion of the hand. Bringing it from his opposite side, with the back forward, it is thrust towards the person or thing approaching. The interpretation is, that the ape objects to the approach. The same sign is often made as a refusal of anything offered him. Another way of making this sign is with the arm extended forward, the hand hanging down, and the back towards the person approaching or the thing refused. In addition to these negative signs there is one which may be regarded as affirmative. It is made simply by extending one arm towards the person or thing desired. It sometimes serves the purpose of beckoning. In this act there is no motion of the hand. These signs appear to be innate, and are very similar in character to those used by men to signify the same idea.
It must not be inferred from this small list of words and signs that there is nothing left to learn. So far only the first step, as it were, has been taken in the study of the speech of apes. As we grow more familiar with their sounds, the difficulty of understanding them becomes correspondingly less. I have not been disappointed in what I hoped to learn from these animals. The total number of words that I have been able to distinguish up to this time is about one hundred. Of these I have interpreted about thirty. Of late I have given no attention to the small monkeys. I shall resume the study of them at some future day, as it forms an essential part of the task which I have assumed. The fact that animals are able to interpret human speech is of itself proof that they possess the speech instinct. But a careful study of their habits reveals the further proof that they possess and exercise the faculty of speech. In addition to these facts they sometimes acquire new speech sounds. This is progress. If an ape can take one step in the development of speech, why may he not take two? One instance which is cited in the chapter treating of Moses, my ape companion, I regard as the climax of all my efforts in the study or training of apes, and that is the fact that I succeeded in teaching him one word of human speech. This alone is sufficient to demonstrate that the animal has within him the resources of speech.
In conclusion I again assert that the sounds uttered by these apes have the characteristics of human speech. The speaker is conscious of the meaning of the sound used. The pitch and volume of the voice are regulated to suit the condition under which it is used. The ape knows the value of sound as a medium of conveying thought. These and many other facts show that their sounds are truly speech.
To compare the mental faculties of the wild ape to the domesticated dog is not a fair standard by which to measure their respective abilities. The dog has acquired much by his long and intimate association with man. If the ape were placed under domestication, and kept there as long as the dog has been, he would be as far superior to the dog in point of sagacity as he is by nature above the wild progenitors of the canine race.
PART II: Chapters XIII-XXIV
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