May 11th, 2009
If you’ve been listening to me on the Twitter this morning then you’ll be tired of this, but here’s the thing. I made a dumb joke referencing an aphorism I have heard: “all animals can swim.” Then I started wondering if that was true. A lot of people replied saying that great apes can’t swim, in particular chimpanzees. That didn’t sound right to me, or at least it sounded like one of those things that everybody says that nobody really knows if it’s true or not (kind of like “all animals can swim”).
So I asked again on the Twitter: for reals? Great apes can’t swim? A lot of people responded “yes they can” or “no they can’t” which wasn’t helpful. And a lot of links came in, a lot of conflicting information. This site says they have too little animal fat and so they sink. This person says they can outswim an olympic swimmer (human, presumably) and tantalizingly links to a video called “seemychimpswim” that no longer exists. According to The Big Zoo they can only swim “if extremely excited” (?). And here’s a story about a swimming orangutan. From what I can tell, it’s kind of “some chimps can swim but mostly they hate it and are not good at it.”
Or worse, it’s still an open question, which is a terrible thought. What the hell scientists? What are we doing here? Can we please start throwing some monkeys into pools and taking notes? IT IS 2009, SERIOUSLY!