The Mind of Max

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Photographer: Ron Cohn

Source: Gary Stanley

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Max – Koko and Ndume”s male watchdog and playmate, shown here with Malinda, our evening monitor – is one of the smartest dogs we”ve ever met. Not only does he learn conventional dog “tricks” in about 30 seconds, but he does things that imply he may have a deeper understanding of spoken English than one would expect of a dog.
For example, he placed himself in an “alternate” indoor dog house for the first time ever, after overhearing Ron say “I wonder why Max never uses the other dog house.”

Perhaps when you specialize in formal interspecies communication research with gorillas, you tend to pay more attention to the cognitive capabilities of other species.