In your silly-amazing, possibly cute (depending on how you feel about orangutans) news of the day, you'll be glad to know that over at Miami's Jungle Island zoo, we're bridging the gap between primates and humans thanks to a pair of twin orangutans, an iPad, and autism software. "The 8-year-old twins love their iPad. They draw, play games and expand their vocabulary," reports The Associated Press' David Fincher, who notes that the programs they're using were actually developed for humans with autism, "the screen displays pictures of various objects. A trainer then names one of the objects, and the ape presses the corresponding button."
Before your cynicism kicks in and think this is a stunt just for guests, think again:
It's important to note that training the orangutans isn't done to entertain Jungle Island workers or guests. Because the animals are so intelligent, Jacobs said their minds must be kept active to prevent them from getting bored or depressed. The challenge is making the enrichment activities enjoyable.
It's okay, harmonica-playing elephant, we still love you.