Monday, April 7, 2008

Provolution and Fongoli Chimps

Some animal lovers have known for a long time, that animals are not as stupid as people usually think of. It seems that this claim is not merely a hoax. The definition of a useful scientific theory, is that it must make a predictions, which can be verified by observation, and the theory of evolution, predicts that there are possibility that other sentient beings on Earth may someday become intelligent species, just like human.

When I was a 10 years old child, I made a comic series, which only I and my siblings read. The settings of the comic are about millions of years in the future, when human had perished, while arks filled with different species of animals was sent to the space. My comic was largely influenced by the polular anime and manga at that time, Doraemon (by Fujiko F Fujio) and Astro Boy (by Ozamu Tezuka). Even now, I still think that everybody, even adults, should watch the anime. There are some good memetic content in both manga, which later I recognize as transhumanism, when I come across a website, called Orion's Arm.

Kind of cartoon I draw when I was 10 years old.

Funny enough that in high school I grow to become a religious, there is a path that I feel must follow, which lead me to become a member of my high school's religious community. There, I met two of my best friends, who are still my best friends until now. At that time, I learned about Creationism, and even my first paper, I wrote in high school is about Creationism, opposing my previous evolutionary worldview. Creationism told that every living being in Earth was created to be perfect, during my study of programming, I learned that a perfect system, must be able to change and perfectly adapt to environmental change. So did I abandon Creationism ? Well, no, but I will tell more about that in later post.

So when I met a website called Orion's Arm, I was drawn to it by a concept called provolution, which basically means that you can make humanoid form of any animal and give them intelectual capability as well ( unplifting ). I suspect that this meme had infected me since fairy tales depicting talking animals was told to me.

Article about Fongoli Chimps from National Geographic website.

But this may not be just a fairy tale, since I read an article about Fongoli Chimpanzee ( Pan troglodytes verus ), written by an Assistant Professor of Antropology Jill Pruetz ( blog ), from Iowa State University.

In the article, it is said that Fongoli Chimps, had begin to hunt bush babies ( Galago senegalensis ) by using spears they made from the branches of local tree. What surprised me, is the fact that in the article, it is mentioned that the chimps sharpened their spear, before using them for hunting, which is a proof that they had invented tool making by themselves. The article is also present in Iowa State University news service and her paper. The spear the chimps used can be seen in her paper.

Funny enough that there are some difference between what happened with the chimps, and what mostly believed to be happened in human evolution. It is believed that in case of human, it is the male who hunt, while the female looks for vegetables, but in case of Fongoli Chimps, it is female who go and hunt. May be they haven't invented agriculture, yet. A more funny thing is the fact that the method of making spears seems to be more complicated, the younger the chimps are, which show that there are some ongoing technology development on the play.

The issue that I am currently interesting of is "what humanity, as their older full-sapient siblings should do ?". Should we let them develop their own technology at their pace, or should we teach them what we know ? Are we going to enter an age, where animals can talk and interact with us as equals ? Will our world become like how it be in the fairy tales ? Will one day we see chimpanzee and human, learning the same thing in the same school and classroom ?

I will be interested to know different reaction from different people, feel free to make an educated comment.

Characters from Utawarerumono, an anime depicting a world where animals have become humanoid sapient beings.

1 comment:

akbar said...

Jadi, Bapak Fendy,

bagaimanakah cara mendamaikan creationism dan evolution? Ditunggu post-nya.

Bagus, bagus, artikel yang bagus. Kita mesti mempelajari kemampuan Raja Salomon, untuk berbicara kepada binatang....