A fascinating episode of Radiolab this week, focusing on the strange and sad story of Lucy the chimpanzee, who was brought up by psychotherapist Maurice Temerlin (shown above) in an experimental attempt to see how human she could become. Some of the moments where the human/animal boundary gets very fuzzy in this programme will make your hair stand on end – particularly the bits dealing with Lucy’s, er, interest in pictures of naked human males.
Listen to the end to get an update from the Great Ape Trust, where the attempts to teach the apes language seem to have taken a surprising turn: a researcher insists that one of the bonobos has started actually speaking in gruff English. Although his colleague sounds a little less convinced. One thing is certain: if a bonobo threatens to bite you if you don’t do what he says, you’d better listen.