World’s cleverest chimp: can cook, play music, use a computer – and make sarcastic jokes chatting with his 3,000-word vocabulary


Kanzi, now 33, has been fully immersed in the human world, and the English language, since birth. Scientists who have studied Kanzi all his life say he possesses a vocabulary big enough to follow and contribute to simple conversations.


For years, this remarkable creature has been changing the way we humans think about our relatives in the animal world. He has learned to ‘say’ about 500 words through the keyboard and understands about 3,000 of them. Equally importantly, he was the first primate who didn’t acquire language through direct training. Instead, much like a human child, he picked it up simply by listening as researchers tried to teach his foster mother. (Teco is now doing the same by watching his father.)
Through a mixture of observation and encouragement, Kanzi has also picked up an astonishing set of manual skills. He can cook, make knives out of stone and play the arcade game…

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