Saturday, June 18, 2011

Susie - The World's Most Intelligent Chimpanzee

"Susie," the wonderful educated chimpanzee, is far outclassing all the other five thousand animals in the New York Zoological Park, in her remarkable performances and clever exhibitions of intelligence.  Her feats indicate what can be accomplished in the systematic training of mammals of the higher orders.

Susie is a member of a colony of nine educated simians, consisting of five orangutans and four chimpanzees.  She is by far the most conspicuous among them, attracting universal attention and astonishment by her marvelous display of human-like knowledge, and the number of very unusual things she has learned to do.
Her most spectacular performance, however, is largely instinctive, and not acquired.  It is a mid-air leap of twenty feet, from a twelve-foot ladder, into the arms of her keeper.  To the spectator this is a real "thriller".  To the agile-limbed chimpanzee it is as if she were in the dense African forests where her species are accustomed to make such tremendous leaps, in navigating the lofty tree tops in which they live in umbrella-like nests made of branches.

As the world's most intelligent and best trained chimpanzee, Susie is valued at about five thousand dollars.  She was one of the famous group of simians captured about three years ago by Professor R. L. Garner in the French Congo region, Africa.  When only a month or so old, she was spirited away from her tree-climbing relatives and has been instructed in the ways of civilization ever since.
Professor Garner, it will be recalled, claimed to have discovered a part, at least, of the chimpanzee vocabulary, though even the intelligent Susie uses but twenty words.  She finds them adequate.

Originally published in Technical World Magazine, November 1913.
Written by Lillian E. Zeh


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