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A Human Baby And A Chimp Grew Up Together…And The Results Were Incredible

In the 1930s, psychologist Winthrop Niles Kellogg (no relation to the cereal) had a strange idea: what would it be like to raise a non-human primate as if it were exactly the same as a human?

With a pregnant wife, Luella, he saw an opportunity to put his theory to the test. After some convincing and assurance that he hadn’t gone crazy, she agreed to adopt a chimpanzee and raise her alongside their son.

Kellogg was inspired by an article about the wolf-children of India whom everyone assumed lacked intelligence, but he believed they simply adapted to their environment from such a young age.

But since no one was eager to volunteer their own human infants to test his theory, Kellogg flipped the idea around and brought Gua, a 7-month-old chimpanzee, into his home. He would raise her as a “sister” to his 10-month-old son, Donald.

The unusual siblings were treated as similarly as possible.

Kellogg regularly recorded them completing basic developmental tests to compare their learning progress.

Gua developed human behaviors much faster than her “brother,” testing ahead of him in tasks like using a spoon or cup and responding to simple commands.

But she was less independent than Donald when it came to human interaction, often clinging to Kellogg for comfort and affection.

The experiment was meant to last for 5 years, following the growth of each child, but after just 9 months, Kellogg decided to end it.

He was disappointed by Gua’s inability to communicate using human language.

Donald, on the other hand, had begun mimicking her chimpanzee sounds, such as her “food bark.”

Check out the full video to see more of Kellogg’s cuties completing tests:

(via A/V Geeks, It’s Okay To Be Smart)

Gua was placed back in the care of a primate center in Florida, but sadly passed away less than a year after leaving her adoptive family after a bad case of pneumonia. However, her impact on the study of environment and hereditary development remains an essential stepping-stone in the progress of biological and psychological theory.

Kellogg and his wife wrote a book, The Ape and The Child, which chronicles their unique and groundbreaking experiment.