Limber 512 primates video notes

home raised chimps

The first study by a psychologist on the effects of environment on child-chimp differences was conducted by a Russian, Nadia Kohts in the 1920s. (See the story of Kohts in Hahn, 1988 and reviews of women involved with apes in Haraway (1988) and Parker and Gibson, 1990). The first home- raised chimp experiment in the USA was done by Winthrop and Luella Kellogg (1933/1967), who were at the University of Indiana.

"Why not give one of the higher primates exactly the environmental advantages which a young child enjoys and then study the development of the resulting organism?"

While a number of people raised chimps in their home, none went about a systematic comparison of ape-child development as did the Kelloggs.

Yerkes influence

As he did with W. Carpenter, R. M. Yerkes played a role. Here he supplied the young chimp, Gua. Gua was born in captivity and on July 26, 1931, taken from the Anthropoid Experiment Station of Yale University at Orange Park, Florida at age 7.5 months. Gua was exactly 2.5 months younger than Donald Kellogg, the Kellogg's son. The two lived together as companions and housemates until March 28, 1932--about nine months. Gua then returned to Florida. During this time, many measurements, comparative tests, and observations were made which are reported in their book. Rumour is that Donald was becoming more chimp-like than Gua human!


There is no simple summary possible but there is "the fact that the child and the ape (when reared in the same environment) acquire a great deal of new behavior which is the same. p309." For the most part, the book is thoughtful and their conclusions seem quite contemporary given the intervening 60 years.

"It should be clear, therefor, that, as far as Gua is concerned, an increased rate of maturation parallels to a considerable extent an increased rate of learning." [They point out a similar relation between boys and girls in elementary school!]

Gua had virtually no speech despite her advanced maturation. "it is unlikely any anthropoid ape will ever be taught to say more than a half a dozen words..if..this.p.289" The Kelloggs attribute this to "the ape's deficiency in a certain brain region known as Broca's area." They also pointed out that Gua never spontaneously vocalized like Donald and that this babbling was probably essential to subsequent speech. In contrast Gua appeared to comprehend utterances more quickly at first and at the end of the 9 months, Donald was only slightly ahead "their respective abilities measured 68 (words or phrases) for Donald and 58 for Gua. p.292" They have a detailed record on speech comparisons, mostly comprehension, in the book.

Gua was "astonishingly sensitive to even the weakest of responsive must these animals be to the extreme forms of punishment and deprivation employed in many of the ordinary types of experiments performed upon them...Who indeed, has thoroughly considered the point of view of the animal?...To test a captive anthropoid seized by force in the jungle, kept later in a cage, and motivated by hunger in some particular experiment is one thing. To test a human child who is kindly and gently talked to and who is never under any circumstances caged or starved is certainly a very different thing.

The film

This is one of a series of brief silent BW films made to show the similarities and differences of the two young primates. The film shows a few of these comparisons including a delayed response task, wearing a cap, encountering a detour, experiencing ice, and being rotated in a chair and consequent vestibular-ocular stimulation. (The vestibular-ocular reflex is a complex system that integrates information from eyes, muscles, posture, with that of semicircular canals and otolith organs to maintain a stable image on the retina by generating compensatory movements. This enables primates to watch a target while in movement. W. Kellogg is looking at the flicking eye movements in Gua and Don generated by the chair rotation.)


Hahn, E. (1988). Eve and the apes. New York: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.  

Haraway, D. (1989). Primate visions: Gender, race, and nature in the world of 
modern science. New York: Routledge.  

Kellogg, W. N., Kellogg, L. A. (1933/1967). The ape and the child (Facsimile 
of the 1933 edition ed.). New York: Hafner Publishing Company.  

Parker, S. T., & Gibson, K. R. (Ed.). (1990).  Language and intelligence in 
monkeys and apes. Cambridge:   Cambridge University P  (see this for much more video and info)