Alpha’s early months

September 25, 2012

In 1931, Alpha spent her first months cared for in the home of two of the staff at the Yale Anthropoid Experimentation Station, Carl and Marion Jacobsen. Each day she was taken for a time to the laboratories for various tests to be conducted and measurements to be taken. Her growth and physiological development was compared with that of human infants. The rest of the time she was able to explore the domestic environment of the Jacobsen’s household. It seems to have been a time of relative freedom:

‘At the residence in Orange Park the infant explored all parts of the house most thoroughly, climbed and crawled about the furniture, traced the designs in the rugs with her index fingers, played with rattles, bells, and balls, and examined the miscellany of small objects left within her reach. Outdoors she mouthed and grasped twigs and blades of grass, walked under shrubs, played with sticks, pine needles, and other objects which attracted her attention.’

Jacobsen, C. F., Jacobsen, M. M. & Yoshioka, J. G. (1932) Development of an infant chimpanzee during her first year. In Comparative Psychology Monographs. Vol. IX. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press.

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