From Christine Kenneally’s The First Word: The Search for the Origins of Language (New York: Viking, 2007):
There is a saying among primate keepers . . . that if you give a screwdriver to a chimp, it will throw it at someone. If you give a screwdriver to a gorilla, it will scratch itself. But if you give a screwdriver to an orangutan, it will let itself out of its cage.The First Word is a disappointing book: oddly organized, with much textbookese and many cumbersome sentences. (How many times can you begin with For example before catching yourself and breaking the habit?) I had to correct an error in the text (“give a give a screwdriver”) to share this passage, which is well worth sharing.
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