As I read through this article several thoughts popped into my mind. The first was, “Are you serious?”
According to the zoo, the purpose of this display is to show that humans are no different than animals. Rather we are simply primates like an ordinary monkey. Polly Wills, the spokeswoman for the zoo, said “Seeing people in a different environment, among other animals…teaches members of the public that the human is just another primate [emphasis mine].”
Just another primate? How many other primates use the telephone on a daily basis? How many other primates invented mass entertainment like television and movies? How many other primates invented methods of transportation allowing them to visit their primate relatives anywhere else in the world in less than 24 hours? How many other primates have put their species on the moon AND the depths of the ocean? Seems to me that at the very least our accomplishments and lifestyle should put us into a whole other category which brings me to my next point.
Aren’t classifications like “primate” and “species” a human invention? Sure there are types of animals that may look similar to the eye, but there is no law that nature imposed on itself in regards to classifications. Prior to scientists developing this classification system there was nothing like it in nature. So to say that humans are just another primate seems kind of pointless. Classifications change and many scientists disagree on certain animals belonging with other animals in the same category.
Perhaps most of all I was surprised by the inconsistencies in the zoo administration’s actions and beliefs. For example, these humans on display are wearing bathing suits with fig leaves on them. My question is why? If we are just another primate shouldn’t we be in the nude as that is our natural state? To put humans in bathing suits is like putting a blanket around the elephant, it isn’t found in nature. I would presume that zoo officials would argue they are wearing clothes so as not to offend anyone. Offend another member of the same species by appearing in our natural state? Hmmm, that’s interesting as I can’t think of a single other animal that does that. Could it be because we have morals and values which are ALSO something that no other species has? How can we be “just another primate” if we are the only ones with morals and values?
My second question is why are the humans allowed to go home at night? Why don’t we just walk down the street, kidnap a few humans and through them in and lock away the key? No other animals get to go home at night. It’s because we have certain values and rights (like respecting life and freedom) which we grant to each other. No other animal does this. So how can we be observing humans as “just another primate” if we have created all of these unnatural stipulations?
For my final thought I find it fascinating that humans in the zoo are covered by fig leaves. Why fig leaves? The only answer that makes sense to me is that it’s taken from the story in Genesis chapter 3. (In Genesis 2:25 we find Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, were naked and felt no shame. After being tempted to, and subsequently, rebelling against God, Adam and Eve “…realized they were naked, so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” [Genesis 3:7])
But this is peculiar because the zoo officials seem to not have much difficulty taking that part of the story out but they sure don’t buy into the part about God creating man. Seems to me that isn’t very intellectually honest; but that’s a post for another time.
In conclusion, I’d like to leave you with the words from Almighty God himself on how He feels about humans, and let you decide on your own if, as the London zoo advocates, we’re “just another primate.”
-- Genesis 1:26-30