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Friday, November 2, 2007

Feces Roger!: the Sad Death of Washoe the Chimpanzee

When I was in college in the early 90s I worked at my college radio station KFHS (600 AM at the time, now you can listen online), at Fort Hays State University.

We used to run a series of PSA's called 'Tips on Life' that would talk about various uh, tips on life.

One unusual 'Tips on Life' PSA concerned a chimpanzee named Washoe that had learned some American Sign Language. The PSA described how Roger Fouts, a graduate student that worked with Washoe had taught her a sign for his name. When he would deny her requests for food, she would combine his name with the sign for feces and call him 'Feces Roger' as an insult. I found this PSA endlessly amusing at the time and played it as often as I could reasonably get away with. At one point I even drew a fake album cover featuring a band called Washoe and the Opposable Thumbs featuring their latest single Feces Roger, and pasted it up in the control room.

Washoe died on Tuesday of natural causes (she was 42).
More on Washoe at Friends of Washoe.

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