One thing that has become clear to me during my years of working with chimpanzees: there is often no answer to “why” questions, such as “why is Foxie so enamored with troll and Dora the Explorer dolls?” Or, similarly, “why does Jamie want her caregivers to put on cowboy boots and “join” her on her walks around Young’s Hill?”.
Maybe rarely having access to answers for “why” questions makes the chimpanzees endlessly fascinating. And maybe it also allows us to concentrate on the “what” and the “how” questions, like, “what can we do to enrich Jamie’s life today?” or “how can we make sure that Foxie always has a choice of dolls?”
Today, this was the doll Foxie picked:
The bite test:
The gaze test:
and this is Foxie looking at me holding Dora before the three of us started playing chase:
Why does Foxie like her caregivers to play chase while holding one of her dolls? I don’t know. But, as more time passes, the better I get at figuring out what makes her particularly giddy when we’re playing these games.