The First Chimpanzee

Scientists zero in on the source of the AIDS virus

Marilyn hardly seemed destined to make history. Unlike other chimpanzees kept at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico during the 1960s and '70s to study the effects of space travel--like Ham, the first primate in orbit--she never made it off the ground. Instead she did her duty as a breeder, a friendly, easily handled chimp mom who gave birth at least a dozen times before her untimely death in 1985 at age 26.

Now, long after the Air Force abandoned its corps of chimps and monkeys to other scientific custodians, Marilyn is getting belated recognition. In this week's Nature, researchers...

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