Primates in general and chimpanzees in particular are among the most studied among mammals. These studies are known to provide insights into the answers to human evolution.
And Kanzi, a male bonobo, is particularly famous for developing language and possessing the life skills that have carried humanity through many stages of evolution. And the most amazing behavior that appeared in this chimpanzee was that it knew how to light fires, cook and communicate with humans in an understandable way.
Bonobo (Pan paniscus), formerly known as the pygmy chimpanzee, is a species of large chimpanzee in the genus Chimpanzee. Bonobo is found in an area of 500,000 km2 of the Congo River basin in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central Africa. It is omnivorous and inhabits primary and secondary forests, including seasonally flooded swamp forests.
According to the chimp’s handler, Dr. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, Kanzi was quite enthusiastic about learning how to make a fire. By the age of five, this pygmy chimpanzee was able to arrange and create small piles of sticks, then try to make fire with the tools around him as he learned from watching movies.
Dr Sue Savage-Rumbaugh said Kanzi especially loves omelettes, both cooking and eating them.
Although Kanzi hasn’t really mastered everything about making fire yet, it has learned to protect itself from burns by staying away from the fire for a bit. The chimpanzee does not suffer from environmental stress when it comes to warmth, the researchers say, because it is raised by humans and has a warm bed to lie on every night.
Therefore, Kanzi did not fully use fire for survival or really felt the need for it to create fire like the primitive man did. In addition to cooking, Kanzi has a knack for making knives from stone and can even play Pac-Man.
Bonobos are matrilineal, with females tending to dominate males by forming alliances. The rank in the hierarchy of the male herd is usually determined by his mother’s rank.
Kanzi showed great interest in learning and expressing himself through lexigrams – rectangles containing about 400 symbols. It is also said to have developed its own vocabulary by combining symbols and even understanding other people’s points of view.