Date Of Birth:
21 November 1973
Date Of Death:
23 March 2000
Place Of Birth:
Best Known As:
Language-learning chimp with a funny name
The chimpanzee Nim Chimpsky was the subject of a landmark experiment in teaching sign language to apes. Named in a humorous salute to language theorist Noam Chomsky, Nim was raised in a human-like setting and taught sign language as if he were a human child. Nim learned to use basic signs but, it was generally agreed, did not develop complex language skills. (Other famous language-learning apes include Koko the gorilla and Washoe the chimp.) Nim was later sold to a medical lab to be the subject of experiments, but through the intervention of activist Cleveland Amory he was instead sent to retirement at a Texas wildlife sanctuary.
Nim Chimpsky is also the name of a popular Welsh band.