The Wauchula Woods Accord: Toward a New Understanding of Animals

Sold by Simon and Schuster
Free sample

WHILE TRAVELING AROUND THE COUNTRY to report on the conditions in which captive chimpanzees in America live, Charles Siebert visited a retirement home for former ape movie stars and circus entertainers in Wauchula, Florida, known as the Center for Great Apes. There Siebert encountered Roger, a twenty-eight-year-old former Ringling Bros. star who not only preferred the company of people to that of his fellow chimps but seemed utterly convinced that he knew the author from some other time and place.

"Mostly I was struck by Roger's stare," writes Siebert, "his deep-set hazel eyes peering out at me with what, to my deep discomfort, I'd soon realize is their unchanging expression. It is a beguiling mix of amazement and apprehension, the look, as I've often thought of it since, of a being stranded between his former self and the one we humans have long been suggesting to him. A sort of hybrid of a chimp and a person. A veritable 'humanzee.'"

Haunted by Roger's demeanor, Siebert promptly moved into a cottage on the grounds of the Center for Great Apes, spending day after day with Roger, trying to get to the bottom of the mysterious connection between them. And then late one night, awakened by the cries of chimpanzees, a sleepless and troubled Siebert suddenly began to conjure a secret, predawn encounter with his new cross-species confidant, an apparently one-sided conversation that, in fact, takes us to the very heart of the author's relationship with Roger and of our relationship with our own captive primal selves.

The result is The Wauchula Woods Accord, a strikingly written, wide-ranging physical and metaphysical foray out along the increasingly fraught frontier between humans and animals; a journey that encompasses many of the author's encounters with chimpanzees and other animals, as well as the latest scientific discoveries that underscore our intimate biological bonds not only with our nearest kin but with far more remoteseeming life-forms.

By journey's end, the reader arrives at a deeper understanding both of Roger and of our numerous other animal selves, a recognition -- an accord -- that carries a new sense of responsibility for how we view and treat all animals, including ourselves.
Read more

About the author

Charles Siebert is the author of two memoirs and a novel. A poet, journalist, essayist, and contributing writer for The New York Times Sunday Magazine, his work has appeared in a broad array of publications, including The New York Times Sunday Magazine, The New Yorker, Harper’s, Vanity Fair, Outside, Esquire, and Men’s Journal.

Read more
Loading...

Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
Read more
Published on
Jun 9, 2009
Read more
Pages
224
Read more
ISBN
9781439165102
Read more
Language
English
Read more
Genres
Nature / Animals / Primates
Nature / General
Social Science / Anthropology / General
Read more
Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
Read more
Eligible for Family Library

Reading information

Smartphones and Tablets

Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.

Laptops and Computers

You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.

eReaders and other devices

To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.
The unbelievable true story of a young girl who is abandoned in the Colombian jungle and finds asylum in the most unlikely of places—with a troop of capuchin monkeys​

In 1954, in a remote mountain village in South America, a little girl was abducted. She was four years old. Marina Chapman was stolen from her housing estate and then abandoned deep in the Colombian jungle. That she survived is a miracle. Two days later, half-drugged, terrified, and starving, she came upon a troop of capuchin monkeys. Acting entirely on instinct, she tried to do what they did: she ate what they ate and copied their actions, and little by little, learned to fend for herself.

So begins the story of her five years among the monkeys, during which time she gradually became feral; she lost the ability to speak, lost all inhibition, lost any real sense of being human, replacing the structure of human society with the social mores of her new simian family. But society was eventually to reclaim her. At age ten, she was discovered by a pair of hunters who took her to the lawless Colombian city of Cucuta where, in exchange for a parrot, they sold her to a brothel. When she learned that she was to be groomed for prostitution, she made her plans to escape. But her adventure wasn’t over yet . . .

In the vein of Slumdog Millionaire and City of God, this rousing story of a lost child who overcomes the dangers of the wild and the brutality of the streets to finally reclaim her life will astonish readers everywhere.
An absorbing investigation of chimpanzee language and communication by a young primatologist

While working as a zookeeper with a group of semi-wild chimpanzees living on an island, primatologist Andrew Halloran witnessed an event that would cause him to become fascinated with how chimpanzees communicate complex information and ideas to one another. The group he was working with was in the middle of a yearlong power battle in which the older chimpanzees were being ousted in favor of a younger group. One day Andrew carelessly forgot to secure his rowboat at the mainland and looked up to see it floating over to the chimp island. In an orchestrated fashion, five ousted members of the chimp group quietly came from different parts of the island and boarded the boat. Without confusion, they sat in two perfect rows of two, with Higgy, the deposed alpha male, at the back, propelling and steering the boat to shore. The incident occurred without screams or disorder and appeared to have been preplanned and communicated. Since this event, Andrew has extensively studied primate communication and, in particular, how this group of chimpanzees naturally communicated. What he found is that chimpanzees use a set of vocalizations every bit as complex as human language. The Song of the Ape traces the individual histories of each of the five chimpanzees on the boat, some of whom came to the zoo after being wild-caught chimps raised as pets, circus performers, and lab chimps, and examines how these histories led to the common lexicon of the group.

Interspersed with these histories, the book details the long history of scientists attempting (and failing) to train apes to use human grammar and language, using the well-known and controversial examples of Koko the gorilla, Kanzi the bonobo, and Nim Chimsky the chimpanzee, all of whom supposedly were able to communicate with their human caretakers using sign language.

Ultimately, the book shows that while laboratories try in vain to teach human grammar to a chimpanzee, there is a living lexicon being passed down through the generations of each chimpanzee group in the wild. Halloran demonstrates what that lexicon looks like with twenty-five phrases he recorded, isolated, and interpreted while working with the chimps, and concludes that what is occurring in nature is far more fascinating and miraculous than anything that can be created in a laboratory.

The Song of the Ape is a lively, engaging, and personal account, with many moments of humor as well as the occasional heartbreak, and it will appeal to anyone who wants to listen in as our closest relatives converse.

Could extinct species, like mammoths and passenger pigeons, be brought back to life? The science says yes. In How to Clone a Mammoth, Beth Shapiro, evolutionary biologist and pioneer in "ancient DNA" research, walks readers through the astonishing and controversial process of de-extinction. From deciding which species should be restored, to sequencing their genomes, to anticipating how revived populations might be overseen in the wild, Shapiro vividly explores the extraordinary cutting-edge science that is being used--today--to resurrect the past. Journeying to far-flung Siberian locales in search of ice age bones and delving into her own research--as well as those of fellow experts such as Svante Paabo, George Church, and Craig Venter--Shapiro considers de-extinction's practical benefits and ethical challenges. Would de-extinction change the way we live? Is this really cloning? What are the costs and risks? And what is the ultimate goal?

Using DNA collected from remains as a genetic blueprint, scientists aim to engineer extinct traits--traits that evolved by natural selection over thousands of years--into living organisms. But rather than viewing de-extinction as a way to restore one particular species, Shapiro argues that the overarching goal should be the revitalization and stabilization of contemporary ecosystems. For example, elephants with genes modified to express mammoth traits could expand into the Arctic, re-establishing lost productivity to the tundra ecosystem.


Looking at the very real and compelling science behind an idea once seen as science fiction, How to Clone a Mammoth demonstrates how de-extinction will redefine conservation's future.

©2018 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google|Location: United StatesLanguage: English (United States)
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.