jeffcrom

RIP, Panbanisha

19 posts in this topic

My wife Karen is heartbroken today. Panbanisha, a bonobo who Karen raised for the first several years of her life, died today at the age of 26 at the Great Ape Trust in Iowa. Karen is a research psychologist and chair of the psych department at Spelman College in Atlanta, but earlier in her career, before I met her, she worked at the Language Research Center, which studies primate language and intelligence. Karen was the primary caregiver for Panbanisha and Panzee, a chimpanzee. She and "the girls" communicated with a symbol board containing several hundred lexigrams. Both Panzee (who is still living at the Language Research Center) and Panbanisha were quite intelligent and were adept at "talking" with humans.

Karen visits Panzee every once in a while, but hadn't seen Panbanisha since she moved to Iowa in 2005. Her are some old pictures of Karen and her girls, from 1987 to 1989. Panbanisha is the ape on the right or on top in all the pictures.

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And in case you're not sure, bonobos are related to chimpanzees; they are now endangered, and they're the species whose DNA most closely resembles that of humans.

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Sorry to hear this. What a great name: Panbanisha.

"Pan" is the genus, but is there a translation of this full word?

Bonobo is a good music project too.

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Sorry to hear this. What a great name: Panbanisha.

"Pan" is the genus, but is there a translation of this full word?

I'm not sure. I'll ask Karen when she gets home - she's at a meeting in California at the moment.

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Sorry to hear of Karen's loss. It's easy to see the caring bond in the photographs.

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Panbanisha

Name means "cleave together for the purpose of contrast" in Swahili

http://www.greatapet...apes/panbanisha

sorry to hear of this loss.

Edited by JSngry

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Thanks! "Cleave" is one of the contronyms that makes you wonder

what the original meaning was for this phrase.

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Panbanisha

Name means "cleave together for the purpose of contrast" in Swahili

That makes perfect sense. The idea was to raise a chimp and a bonobo together to compare/contrast their language acquisition.

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Another sad day here. Karen's other "girl," Panzee (the chimpanzee in the pictures above) died of complications from diabetes this weekend in Atlanta.

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http://vimeo.com/8582666

This is Panzee as an adult, interacting with Karen's friend Mike. Karen has pages of the neat, meticulous "writing" you see Panzee doing at the 55 second mark.

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Very insteresting little movie, thanks!

And sorry about the loss, must be tough.

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I'm sorry for Karen's loss. But what fascinating work she does.

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I'm really sorry to hear about this. I can imagine when you work so close with these animals you grow to be friends. Such a smart beautiful animal! I'm very impressed by the work your wife does, must be thrilling to study and work with animals this way. She and her friend Mike must be very upset. Thank you for posting the video and the lovely pictures.

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sorry, Jeff; incredible thing this story is.

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Sorry, Jeff, it's a sad loss, but what a rewarding job your wife does.

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Just to clarify, Karen is now teaching psychology at Spelman College in Atlanta, and hadn't worked with the girls for several years. She's been exchanging Panzee stories with friends and is adjusting to the loss.

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Thanks Jeff. Well, that's equal impressive. I can understand exchanging stories helps to deal with the loss. Like I've said I'd imagine becoming friends with animals that way, it is a feeling you'd never loose or forget.
I searched for the college. Am I right when I understand it is a college especially for women?

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I searched for the college. Am I right when I understand it is a college especially for women?

Yes, Spelman is probably the most highly regarded HBCU (historically black college/university) for women in the U.S.

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Ok, thanks. Although I didn't teach in college myself, I'm always interested to hear/learn about what forms of education there are abroad. Interesting!

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