National Geographic : 1965 Dec
Grizzled J.B. (John Bull) places an affable hand on Fifi's head; distended lips indicate they each have a mouthful of food. Often a bad-tempered, crusty old fellow, J. B. has spells of friendliness. Chimpanzees need the reas surance of physical contact; when nervous or worried they reach out to touch each other and, in greeting, often embrace. again. I had just started to undo the buttons when all at once he became resigned, sat peacefully beside me, and began to suck gent ly on one corner of the shirt. Boiled Eggs Perplex Mr. McGregor Mr. McGregor has a passion for birds' eggs. Normally, he cracks an egg in his mouth, stuffs in a handful of leaves, and then sucks and chews on the "egg salad." I well remem ber the day he stole six chicken eggs which Edna had just cooked. Poor Mr. McGregor! Having cracked the first egg, he waited, with an expression of mounting bewilderment, for the delicious fluid to run into his mouth. But nothing happened, the egg being hard-boiled! 810 Cheek to cheek, four-year-old Fifi hangs from a limb with a female playmate, two-year-old Gilka (left), whose sex was unknown when she was named for NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Di rector of Photography Robert E. Gilka. Like little girls, chimpanzees of Fifi's age play at being mothers, getting practice for the time starting at 9 or 10-when they will have young. After a moment he spat the salad into his hand and peered at it. Then he discarded the leaves, picked a fresh supply, and tried again. He went through the whole performance at least four times. With each successive egg, he stuffed in ever greater quantities of leaves, until he was surrounded by fragments of whites and yolks and mounds of half-chewed greenery. I think it was with relief that Mr. McGregor returned to eating bananas, leav ing us weak with laughter. When frustrated or excited, chimps often perform "charging" displays. They rush along, dragging fallen or broken-off branches, throwing rocks or sticks, leaping up to sway branches, stamping or slapping the ground.