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Apes Will Choose Names for New Neighbors

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Apes Will Choose Names for New Neighbors

Science

Apes Will Choose Names for New Neighbors

Apes Will Choose Names for New Neighbors

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/9445039/9880947" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Panbanisha, a bonobo ape, views a photo of the trumpeter swans that have moved to the campus of the Great Ape Trust in Des Moines, Iowa. Liz Pugh hide caption

toggle caption Liz Pugh

Panbanisha views a photo of the new trumpter swans who've moved onto the campus of the Great Ape Trust in Des Moines, Iowa. She and her family of bonobo apes will name the swans after they observe them.

Liz Pugh

A pair of trumpter swans move in on the campus of the Great Ape Trust of Iowa. Since 1995, 750 trumpeter swans have been released in Iowa. Great Ape Trust hide caption

toggle caption Great Ape Trust

Bonobo apes living at a research facility in Iowa have new neighbors — and they're not the quiet type.

A pair of breeding trumpeter swans recently joined seven bonobo apes and three orangutans at the Great Ape Trust in Des Moines.

Besides being neighborly, the apes are expected to name their feathered friends. The bonobos, which have sophisticated verbal skills, will observe the swans on the facility's 30-acre lake. They'll either select names themselves or choose from a recommended list.

Scientists at the trust will tell the apes a list of names, watching how they respond to each option with gestures or their own vocalizations.

Scientists say that getting the bonobos involved in naming the swans is important because it gives the apes control over their environment.

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