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Monkey business

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- Chantek, an orangutan fluent in sign language, was back home with college researchers, flashing hand signals to admit he had been a bad ape for escaping for a 'night on the town.'

'He knows he has been bad,' said Dr. Lynn Miles, who heads a research team studying Chantek.

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'He's real subdued and quiet now. He looked up and squeaked and said 'bad' with sign language.'

The shaggy, 5-year-old ape pried open a window of his trailer at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga and got loose for about an hour Wednesday night -- until his love of cheeseburgers and chewing gum overcame the lure of freedom.

Students spotted Chantek and alerted security guards, who found the fun-loving beast with his face jammed into a discarded bag of fast-food cheeseburgers. The guards used chewing gum to lure Chantek into a campus building and research aides arrived to take him home.

Chantek has nearly reached a goal of a 100-sign vocabulary since arriving on campus as a baby. The 60-pound orangutan combines the symbols for cheese, meat and bread to order a cheeseburger when he sees hamburger parlors on rides around Chattanooga, Dr. Miles said.

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