Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Bananas Don't Grow on Trees!

What? Of course they do!

Well, erm ... no actually, they don’t. The banana ‘tree’ might look like a tree, but herb would be a far more accurate description - the world’s largest herb, in fact!

The banana ‘bunch’ grows on a stalk out of the ground. Okay, it’s a pretty big stalk, (growing up to 9 metres in height), but it’s still just a stalk, and is formed out of the lower ends of all the leaves overlapping each other.

Real trees have woody trunks, and, after bearing fruit, survive for another season, then another, and so-on – year after year. But the banana plant only bears fruit for a single season, then dies. However, it leaves an underground ‘stem’ which grows into a new banana plant the following season. Phew!!!

Friday, 25 June 2010

How Do You Peel Yours?

Bananas are unique, in that their skins are so protective, yet easily and conveniently removed without a knife or peeler. But how do you peel yours?
We gorillas tend to bite the banana in the middle of the convex curve (where a knuckle would be on a finger) then tear or break them open.

99.9% of humans peel their bananas from the stem down, and hold them by the stump as they eat them. This seems the most logical and efficient way to peel them, and most people never think of trying any alternate methods.

However, here's the interesting thing: most chimpanzees and monkeys peel their bananas the opposite way round. They pinch the stump (bottom of the banana) and tear it open. Why? It might be because this enables them to eat bananas that are still attached to a bunch or tree, but as they often peel picked bananas the same way, this isn’t conclusive. Some humans who have opted for this method, (aping the chimps), claim that peeling in this direction more efficiently removes the stringy bits, but my experiments haven’t proved this to be the case.

Next time you peel a banana, why not try the “Chimp” method and see if you think it works any better. Be sure to let me know!

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Bananas at Wimbledon!
Have you ever seen tennis players munching bananas between games? It isn’t because they forgot their lunch – no, it’s because they know that bananas are the greatest energy providers ever.

While spectators may prefer the traditional strawberries and cream – during the world famous Wimbledon Tennis Tournament, around 800 bananas are eaten by competitors each day.
Tim Henman and Jennifer Capriati munching their bananas.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Using my Computer

This seems like a good place to start; after all, your average primate doesn’t usually carry a laptop!

Some years ago, primatologists discovered that gorillas communicate using a complex vocabulary of both sounds and gestures ... whereas captive gorillas had already noticed that about humans some decades earlier!

Since then, several primates, (gorillas, chimps and orang-utans mostly), have been taught ASL (American Sign Language), some amassing a vocabulary of several hundred words. However, I learnt to communicate by pointing to symbols on a pictogram board. As my vocabulary grew, the pictograms were stored in a specially adapted gorilla-proof computer, divided into various menus, all accessible via a huge touch-sensitive screen.

A clever human then designed a computer program capable of converting any pictograms I choose into audible words. Since then, technology has advanced so much that my primitive messages can now be converted into typed words, (automatically adjusting grammar and syntax), virtually allowing me to type like anyone else.

If you leave a comment, my PC is also programmed to convert on-screen text into the picture symbols I can easily read ... so please be sure to say HELLO!

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Hello Humans!

Hello! My name is Eliza. I am an eight year-old mountain gorilla living in the far north of Scotland.
‘What?’ I hear you ask. ‘Where in Scotland?’ ... ‘How did a gorilla learn to use a computer?’ ... and ‘Why are you writing a journal?’
Fear not ... I will explain everything in my forthcoming journal entries. I will relate my fascinating history, reveal my innermost simian thoughts, and drive you crazy with my number one passion in life: BANANAS, BANANAS and more BANANAS!