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Topics: Monkey

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

image for Terminally-ill Chimp Asks Make-A-Wish for Opposable Thumbs

Apples, a highly intelligent, sign-language-using chimpanzee at Washington's Chimpanzee and Human Communications Institute (CHCI), was diagnosed last month with an aggressive form of bone cancer that gives her, at most, nine months to live. The Make-A-Wish foundation offered the chimp a wish earlier this week, making Apples the foundation's first simian wish-recipient. Not everyone was thrilled about the announcement, however, and due to the limited number of wishes available, a 7 year-old Leukemia patient in Fort Worth will not be starring opposite Danny Glover in "Lethal Weapon 5: Reincarnated Riggs" next summer.

Apples used the unprecedented opportunity to fulfill a life-long dream, asking the foundation for a set of opposable thumbs - thumbs that would to allow her to grasp and manipulate objects as a human does. After an emergency conference with the board of directors, Make-A-Wish representatives agreed to fulfill the chimp's wish.

Renowned zoologist and Apples' caretaker since birth, Jim Sutton, recalls the historic moment: "Apples can be kind of a smart-ass, so I wasn't shocked when she wished for 17 more wishes. The Make-A-Wish people were clearly annoyed, so to get things moving I said 'Apples, do you know what happens to wish-grubbing little monkeys? Do you? No? Let's just say you'll be wishing to have your prefrontal cortex back if you don't stop cheating.'" (Sutton later said his comments were in jest and he would never actually lobotomize the animal) "That's when she pulled that opposable thumbs wish out of her ass," continued Sutton. "I still can't believe they actually agreed to it - how they're going to pull this one off is beyond me."

Apples has been precocious since birth, Sutton explained, and currently has the largest sign vocabulary of any chimpanzee in recorded history. Having mastered the art of communication, Apples is now attempting to break down the only other barrier separating a retarded, lower-order primate from an ingenious, world-conquering human being. With opposable thumbs, the chimp will be able to create works of art, build and manipulate complex objects, send MySpace friend requests to her favorite R&B artists, and extract delicious hot-pockets from their microwavable sleeve without burning the crap out of herself.

Apples communicated through sign that most importantly, she wants to use more advanced tools than the "lame stick Apples use to get termite snack from hole." Her wish creates an unprecedented opportunity for zoologists, who are eager to study how the chimpanzee will use her opposable thumbs. Some believe Apples will pick up a violin or guitar and begin composing music, others say she will first grab a pen or pencil and learn to write, but most say that there are simply too many possibilities to know what this extremely bright chimpanzee will do first. When asked what she would do first, Apples indicated that her only aspiration so far was to use an electric toothbrush to fish termites out of a hole, so she could then brush her teeth with the "termite goodness."

Make-A-Wish foundation has contracted a Korean robotics company, Vonatek, to create a pair of robotic thumbs to install on the chimp, which will make Apples the world's first Chimp cyborg. Vonatek's Vice President of Marketing, Lee Kun Hee, says the robotic appendages will be "absolutely new and cutting edge technology" when completed in the next few months, and he is confident that Apples will spend the last months of her life "winning thumb wars and kicking ass on the PS3." A Vonatek engineer, who wished to remain nameless, said "I just wish Apples could still be around in 2045 when this kind of technology might actually be possible. I heard the marketing guys say we're gonna keep this thing in development until the chimp bites it. She should have wished to be cryogenically frozen."

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