You first.

Written by Bonnie Hendrickson

Always looking out for the chimpanzees’ health, we decided to try a new “cracker”, the biscuit we serve that is a source of protein and vitamins. The new one is lower in sugar.  The chimpanzees’ first impression was not particularly positive.  I asked the tech on duty if any of the humans had tasted the new crackers yet.  No one had, so I took a bite.  Hmmmm, not as tasty as the other ones…not surprising since they are healthier. 

I was very fortunate to serve lunch that day, so I carried out all the crackers, three containers, and set them down in front of Dar.  I picked up one of the new crackers and asked him YOU WANT THESE?  He gave a me a look that I interpreted as “You first.”

Well I always say, if we ask the chimpanzees to try something new, I should be willing to do the same.  I picked up a cracker and took a bite in front of Dar.  His eyes got wide (I think I surprised him) and he watched me chew.  But still he wasn’t impressed and asked for his usual.

I walked over to Tatu and asked her YOU WANT NEW CRACKER? I showed her the one I was eating and took another bite.  She watched intently as I continued to eat, occasionally asking to smell my breath.  When I was done chewing, I offered her one of the crackers.  She very politely took it, smelled it and took a small bite.  I offered her more and she took another one.  I later found both of them uneaten.  Well, at least she tried it.

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