By Michelle Y. Merrill

Michelle Y. Merrill got her Ph.D. studying bonobos (Pan paniscus) in Congo (Zaire at the time) and orangutans (Pongo abelii) on Sumatra. She teaches Anthropology at Cabrillo College in Aptos, CA and blogs at and


Pongo abelii Orangutan asks Why only use my two hands? Feet are just as good Pongo pygmaeus Orangutan climbs A good distance away from African great apes Gorilla gorilla Gorilla ponders When brute force fails to resolve Perhaps more force works Gorilla beringei Mountain gorilla Calmly chews wild celery Peaceful times are rare Pan paniscus Bonobo grins big The sweeter the fruit should be The more sex required Pan troglodytes Chimpanzee hoots loud In the driving rainstorm’s wrath Why no umbrella? Homo sapiens Human walks away From forest and savannah Just sits in traffic