I have for some time past paid considerable attention to the sounds uttered by the Human Beings who are permitted to observe our movements, in the wire house which the Proprietor of these gardens has so obligingly placed at our disposal, rent free. My object has been to discover whether the Human Species, though belonging to a rather low form of animal life, can be said to have anything corresponding to the language which is the recognized means of communicating between Apes.
I have been much assisted in my investigations by the kind help afforded me by the great Anubis Baboon, who has frequently abandoned the consumption of nuts to come and make experiments on our human visitors; the elder members of the Chimpanzee Family have also been most useful, and have often restrained the young of their household from interrupting my inquiries by ill-timed pleasantries. Only once in the whole course of these scientific labours have I had seriously to complain of my tail being made use of as a swing.
It was not long before I came to the conclusion that men do really mean something by the extraordinary gibberings and chatterings in which they indulge. My first experiment was on a female of the species, with a blue feather in her bonnet. At a sign from me, a young Chimpanzee suddenly and adroitly snatched the bonnet from her head. The sound she uttered was, as nearly as I can put it, wh-oo-w! ending in a shrill scream. I therefore take the oo sound to indicate alarm, or dissatisfaction. Exactly the same vowels were used by the Male.
The mischievous young of the Human Species, we have discovered, also have this oo sound, and use it when they wish to frighten us.
The three conclusions which I have drawn from my inquiries are: ---
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