Virgil The Monkey From Project X

Project X Movie PosterSlightly obscure in monkey movie circles is the movie Project X staring Matthew Broderick and Helen Hunt. Interestingly enough Virgil the sign language speaking Chimp is actually still alive as of 2011 at a primary sanctuary. He’s aged, and balding, but so are his costars. Twenty-five years later the chimp is apparently still causing trouble with his friends:

Today, Willie, Harry and Okko, all from Twentieth Century Fox, live together in a troop of five energetic male chimpanzees, which includes Chobe and KoKo Michaels. Within this tightly balanced group, Willie’s significant ally is Okko, the leader of the group, although Harry remains a close friend. For years, Okko’s authority was backed by Willie, but in recent months Willie has settled into neutrality.

Two quarreling chimpanzees can stimulate 25 other chimpanzees to scream as they watch every detail of a dispute. The anger-management counselor in Willie’s group is Harry, who will run back and forth trying to settle arguments.

Pretty cool to see they are still taken care of all these years later.

Monkey Cocaine Research

Buried in an article on stimulus spending:

Then there is the project listed at No. 28 by the senators — $71,623 to researchers at Wake Forest University to see how monkeys react to cocaine.

Titled “Effect of Cocaine Self-Administration on Metabotropic Glutamate Systems,” the project calls for monkeys to self-administer drugs while researchers monitor and study their glutamate levels, the report said.

Emphasis mine.

Maybe I’m alone here, but the government funding monkeys that can snort cocaine on their own is pretty impressive. I’ll be really impressed if they can get one to cook meth. Even more interesting is if they can get them to understand enough about commerce to buy and sell. This is the first step towards making Planet of the Apes a reality.