Baby Chantek and Dr. Lyn MilesChantek, an orangutan who was raised at UTC and taught sign language, was featured in “The Ape Who Went to College,” a story that aired nationally as part of the PBS series, My Wild Affair.   Dr. H. Lyn Miles, UC Foundation Professor of Anthropology, scientific researcher, and biocultural anthropologist, is at the heart of the story.

Chantek learned hundreds of signs, made up his own words, told lies, learned to make arts, crafts, and even played tic tac toe—and was a real challenge for Dr. Richard Brown, Executive Vice Chancellor, Finance and Operations.

However, all this intelligence and amazing skill also left a question—where does an enculturated ape who calls himself an “orangutan person” live, and once we teach language and culture to an ape, what obligations do we have to him ethically to maintain his skills, or does he then go back to being a “dumb animal” in a zoo?

View the documentary online.

Media Relations Contacts: Email Chuck Cantrell or call (423) 425-4363.