As volunteers at CSNW advance in their training, there comes a point when they are tested on their ability to identify the chimps. Understandably, this can cause some anxiety. After all, when you are new to being around chimps, you can’t help but focus on how different they look from us, instead of how different they look from each other. At first you look for prominent features and try to put them together like a puzzle:
Missing ear + Big belly + Bald head = Negra
Missing toes + Heart shaped brow ridge + Hairless forearms = Jody
Perfect posture + Intense gaze = Jamie
Notch in ear + Kind of looks like Shrek = Annie
Slight build + Troll in hand = Foxie
No neck + Silvery back = Missy
Testicles = Burrito!
But then one day it all comes together, and instead of seeing individual features, you see personalities. Instead of seeing parts, you see people. And you wonder how on earth you could have missed it before.