Way back in grad school at Central WA University I did my master’s thesis on chimpanzee play initiation. I watched a lot of video of the chimpanzees at CHCI (mostly Moja and Tatu) begin play sessions. I loved seeing them in person and on the videos indicate to each other that they wanted to play. I found that the CHCI chimps often used objects and clothing when initiating play. And so do the Cle Elum Seven! Sometimes it’s Missy pulling on a sock, and sometimes it’s an object that I personally wouldn’t normally think of as a barrel of fun, like a plastic tube.
Pre-play: Jamie adjusting her scarf, holding plastic tubing, Jody lying in straw, Foxie looking at her troll
Beginning play: Foxie takes the end of the tubing
Foxie and Jamie run around for a while, then Missy chases Jamie
During play, the object is often transferred between partners – like keep-away. Missy got the hose from Jamie and climbed up the fire hose
When Missy jumped down, Foxie decided to join in again
A little bit later, another object comes into play – the scarf that Jamie was wearing.
The Cle Elum Seven sure do know how to have fun!