Science: Lessons for Lana

According to an old saw, if a chimpanzee is allowed to punch the keys of a typewriter at random for a long enough time, it will eventually peck out Hamlet. Lana, a playful three-year-old female chimpanzee at Emory University's Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center, will never accomplish that feat, but she is already one up on the hypothetical chimp. Under the tutelage of the center's scientists, Lana is rapidly learning how to read and write in a brand-new language called Yerkish.

Chimps are perhaps the most intelligent of all apes, and others before Lana have acquired sign-language vocabularies of more than 100...

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