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Chimp starts his own fires and cooks

  |   Dec. 30, 2011 at 1:39 PM
DES MOINES, Iowa, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- A chimpanzee living in Iowa knows how to use tools and can even start fires and cook, animal researchers say.

Kanzi, a male bonobo chimp, lives at the Great Ape Trust in Des Moines, Iowa, where scientists taught him to use matches.

Now Kanzi enjoys roasting marshmallows over an open fire and pan-frying hamburgers, the New York Daily News reported Friday.

"Kanzi makes fire because he wants to. He used to watch the film 'Quest for Fire' when he was very young, which was about early man struggling to control fire," trust scientist Sue Savage-Rumbaugh said.

"He watched it spellbound over and over hundreds of times."

The ability to control fire was a major evolutionary step that helped improve humans' diets and led to the development of larger brains, researchers said.

Chimpanzees may not be so far behind: Kanzi is reportedly teaching his son Teco how to make fires, too.

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