Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Road-Crossing Chimps

There's a story on the BBC News about how chimps in West Africa have learnt to cross roads safely.

When I first saw the link I thought it meant that they had learnt to look both ways and only cross when there was no traffic coming, but actually it just describes how troops of chimps cross the road by having the larger dominant male chimps stationed at the front and back of the troop to protect the females and children in the middle.

This reminds me of the technique I developed when I first went to China, I would position myself so that our larger dominant male was in between myself and the oncoming traffic. I assume that it was his greater visibility to even the most long-sighted of Chinese drivers that meant that we never discovered precisely how much of an impact he could absorb.

My Dad visited Baghdad in the 1970s as part of his job; apart from the fact that the soldiers used to walk around holding hands, he noted that male Iraqis would have their wives walk a little way in front of them just in case there were any landmines; that would appear to be the opposite of the chimps' technique.

1 comment:

JP said...

Dominant male?

I'm sure he'd love this reference.