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Question Sheet: An Inspiring Home for Apes

SCIENCE

Before reading:

  1. What is a primate? Name several examples of primates. 
  2. Describe an experience you have had going to the zoo. What did you like or dislike about your visit? What did you learn?

During reading:

  1. Who is Lyn Miles, and where does she work? 
  2. What does Miles suggest might help develop the intellectual capacity of apes? 
  3. How is Chantek like a "real kid"? 
  4. Define "enculturation." 
  5. What are the main goals of the Animal Nation foundation? 
  6. In what ways do the mysterious apes discovered in Africa differ from known primates?

After reading:

  1. Summarize the pros and cons of zoos. 
  2. If primates are significantly more intelligent than other animals, what obligations do humans have towards them in captivity? 
  3. What dangers might exist in the "humanizing" of apes? 
  4. Why are scientists interested in teaching primates sign language or simple math? 
  5. What "problem-solving" activities do you think zoos could offer to interest primates? 
  6. Come up with five questions to ask Lyn Miles about her work.

SOCIAL STUDIES

  1. Research and write a report about a zoo, focusing on any special facilities the zoo may have to make life interesting for animals. Choose from one of the following zoos: www.londonzoo.com/ (London Zoo), www.sandiegozoo.org/ (San Diego Zoo), www.auduboninstitute.org/zoo/index.htm (Audubon Zoo, New Orleans), www.bronxzoo.com/ (Bronx Zoo, New York), or www.sazoo-aq.org/00openpages/00index.html(San Antonio Zoo, Texas). 
  2. Suppose that you were interested in going to the Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo-Kinshasa). Check the Web site of the United States Department of State at travel.state.gov/droc.html. Summarize what you learned about the Democratic Republic of Congo on the site. Why do you think that the U.S. offers warnings about traveling to this country?

LANGUAGE ARTS

  1. Write a letter to a government official describing what advantages an animal preserve might have over a more traditional zoo. 
  2. Write lyrics for a song that you think the band Animal Nation could sing and play.

MATH

The smallest living primate is the pygmy mouse lemur, which weighs about 30 grams. The largest primate is the gorilla, which weighs, on average, about 175 kilograms. How many times heavier is a gorilla than a pygmy mouse lemur?

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