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Letter: Goodall visit was challenging

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By David R. Martinez

Recently, while at Highlands University, I found out that Dr. Jane Goodall was visiting Las Vegas. I am a retired chemist and this was exciting news.  

When I got to the Plaza Hotel, Dr. Goodall was viewing the science exhibits of the students from Los Niños school. I have to agree with Dr. Goodall in that the exhibits were very well done. I had been a science fair judge for 10 years and have seen few science projects done that well by students of any age in public school.

Dr. Goodall followed the viewing with a short talk. As a child, she discovered her interest in science when she wondered how an egg comes out of a chicken. Hiding for hours, covered in straw, she saw an egg being laid. She was 9 years old. After she became a scientist, years later, she observed the behavior of chimpanzees in a similar way.

The talk was interesting. I do disagree with Dr. Goodall on one point. She said that there was no sharp line between humans and the other apes. We can try an experiment in our minds. Consider if we took a child from a human family and switched him with a chimpanzee baby. If a chimpanzee took care of the human baby, would that child be able to go to college and live in our world? Would the human baby even be able to live in the world of the chimpanzees? The answer is “no”  to both questions.

How about the future of a chimpanzee baby raised by humans? How would he fare? Probably not well. The newspapers had a story in the last year or two about a chimpanzee who was raised by humans and went berserk.

Humans may be ape-like but humans are not apes.

David R. Martinez

Las Vegas