Posts Tagged ‘Santino’

Iranian Monkey Show

October 10, 2010


Last week, Hezbollah’s television station, Al Manar TV, reported that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hoped to find time during his visit to Lebanon to throw a rock at Israel. He thought that could be the ultimate photo-op for him, the president of Iran making a symbolic gesture, throwing a stone towards the Zionist entity.

Wow, what a childish thing to do! – When children behave naughtily or mischievously, we say they get up to monkey business or are ‘monkeying around’.

During a live broadcast of a popular childrens’ TV show in Iran, about two years ago, one young girl surprised viewers when she told them that her father called her stuffed monkey ‘Ahmadinejad’. During a telephone call that took place on the show ‘Uncle Fornaj’, one of the most highly-watched shows in Iran, the show’s host asked a young female caller if she was good girl who obeyed her parents. “I’m a good girl and that’s why my father bought me a doll,” the girl responded, explaining that the doll was stuffed monkey. “My father calls it Ahmadinejad,” she said in response to the host’s follow-up question.

That made me think of Santino, the rock-throwing chimpanzee, at the Furuvik Zoo in the city of Stockholm, in Sweden. He used to calmly collect stones and fashion concrete discs before visitors arrived for the daily zoo visits. The chimp would then hurl the rocks across a moat toward onlookers.

Scientists were baffled that the chimp’s stone throwing at Zoo visitors seemed to be ‘premeditated’.  They decided to stake out the enclosure to get a better idea of the chimp’s behavior. That’s when they discovered that, on five consecutive days, before the zoo opened, the chimpanzee gathered stones from the water and placed them in caches.
The chimpanzee was observed to gently knock on the concrete rocks, from time to time delivering harder blows to break off the detached surface section in discoidal pieces. These manufactured ‘missiles’ were often transported to the caches at the shoreline. – Later on each of these days, these stones were used as ammunition.

Santino was without exception calm when gathering or manufacturing his ammunition, in contrast to the typically aroused state during displays.

The conclusion was that when wild chimps collect stones or go out to war, they plan this in advance, which means that they can plan much of their everyday behavior.

Ahmadiejad planned the same, but seems to have changed his plans. – Iran’s IRNA news reported Saturday that Ahmadinejad has backed down from plans to throw a rock at Israel and decided not to tour or monkey around at the Israeli border.