Stop Throwing those Rocks!

on May 20, 2009

There is a frustrated chimp in Furuvik Zoo in Sweden.

There is a frustrated chimp in Furuvik Zoo in Sweden. For the past 11 years the chimp, named Santino, has been stomping around his enclosure and hurling stones at visitors. The interesting thing is that Santino gathers his stones each morning into a pile—getting ready for when the visitors come and he gets mad at them.

Santino finds weak parts of fake boulders in his enclosure and works them loose, adding them to his stash of stones. Then, later, when people visit the zoo, he becomes agitated and starts throwing.

Scientists are interested in Santino’s behavior because they see it as thinking and preparing for a future event, different from just acting on instinct. They are excited at the reasoning power Santino is demonstrating, collecting stones that he plans to use when he gets irritated at the visitors. This would seem to the scientists as similar to human behavior.

It is sad that the planning Santino does is all about collecting stones and throwing them at people! It would be much better if he did some peaceful reasoning instead of anger and violence. But when Adam sinned and the earth was cursed, everything lost its innocence and perfection; sin and violence spread throughout all of creation. No wonder Santino is frustrated!