The Great Apes Project

It reads like something out of a Roddy McDowall Planet of the Apes movie, but there is a movement that has been gaining momentum.  It is called the Great Apes Project.  The latest country to have joined it is Spain.  The Great Apes Project seeks to confer Human Rights to Humans closest relatives.  The project believes that since the non-human hominids express love, fear, anxiety, and jealousy that they should “enjoy the right to life, freedom, and not be tortured.”  New Zealand and Britain have laws that protect the great apes from experimentation.  The Great Ape Project includes chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orangutans.

The science community has proposed reclassifying humans, chimpanzees and bonobos into one genus making a 50,000 year old common ancestor link more clearly understood.  Chimpanzees would be Homo Troglodites and Bonobos would be Homo Paniscus.   In addition to their DNA being extremely close to ours, chimps and bonobos also exhibit similar behavior patterns that humans do.  The chimpanzees tend to exhibit human’s more violent tendencies and bonobos tend to exhibit human’s more sexual tendencies.  Bonobos are the only other hominid species that express face to face copulation. 

The project is perhaps only one step towards Humans respecting all of life on this planet.  Each creature that crawls, swims, flies, or walks upon the face of the earth does have an integrity and dignity that is profoundly and uniquely theirs.  It seems to me that honoring that dignity would be the human thing to do.  We need to do it quickly because all of these species are under threat of extinction mostly due to our own greed and excessive consumerism.   


Published in: on September 4, 2008 at 9:36 am  Comments Off on The Great Apes Project  
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