Two lonely neurons

...that fire action potentials just to keep warm

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Amazing White Chimp


This is one of my favorite scientific phenomena that I would like to share just with you. Sit back, grab a beer, and enjoy!

I blame animal planet for my break up with my ex-girlfirend in Pittsburgh. It must've been about two years ago when I watched an Animal Planet show that documented the existence of an alibino chimp- all white in color. Interestingly, one eye was blue and the other brown. They dubbed the chimp "pinkie". This chimp was shy, commonly walked on it's hind legs (whereas most chimps use their hands when travelling), and disliked climbing up trees. In my opinion, this is one of the most interesting things that has happend for the fact that it provides some evidence for evolution. Unfortunatly, the chimp died at the age of two by falling out of a tree- apparently her dislike for climbing was well-founded.

Although I was by no means a biology expert , I couldn't get over how interesting this mutation was! Wikipedia describes mutations as "the ultimate source of genetic varation" . Although most mutations are not benificial, on occasion something great will happen (1 million monkies + 1 million typewriters = Hamlet) . Therefore, it is conceivable that such a mutation sent a population of chimpanzees down an evolutionary road, eventually to becoming humans (Out of all animals, the Chimps DNA is the closest to ours). I think that Pinkie died before any genetic testing was performed. Anyway, I was on a pretty good diatribe when describing this story my stanch Catholic ex-girlfriend. My thesis basically came down to: "...and with this evidence, how can people still believe in the stroy of Adam and Eve". She replied "I believe the story of creationism!". I think the conversation ended when I said something mildly insensitive... I think it was "I can't respect someone who believe in fairy tales". Can you believe we broke up?

Anyway, thats the story of the amazing white chimp. Other albino primates or human like creatures have been documented. Noatably the Humanzee, which just turned out to be an odd looking chimp and an albino gorilla at the Barcelona zoo- the gorilla died at the age of 37 due to skin cancer. With a little hindsight, I'll admit that the amzing white chimp may not be a missing link and skin cancer sucks. And although the amzing white chimp caused a break up with me and my ex-girlfirend, I ended up with an amazing red head girlfriend!

Picture from Jane Dewar's website: On this site, she a great documentary on her trip her trip to West Africa as well as the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary. She has a great cause, trying to raise money to prevent the abuse of chimps, as well as maintain funding for the refuges.

2 Comments:

Blogger Chris said...

I too was moved by the video about Pinkie. I posted it on youtube at the following link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeCAG79A2c8

I was so sorry to see she died.

5:36 PM  
Blogger imogen said...

No, this is just an Albino Chimpanzee still no closer to human life but I feel it should have been given different care as from the beginning you could see it was having a difficult time.... what a shame!!! At Dr Jane Goodall's Institute the little white chimp would still be alive today!!!

5:45 PM  

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