When photographer Bob Pitchford visited the Bristol Zoo in South West England, he had no idea his visit would spark so much ire in one gorilla — and make for a priceless photo. As he was snapping photos of a primate enclosure, the gorilla literally flipped off his photographer. Pitchford didn't realize how precise the gesture was until he looked back over the pictures later, he told The Bristol Post:
He really does look a bit cheesed off. As I spotted him he was just playing with some grass. Gorillas have fantastic hearing so when I started clicking he must have heard me. He just turned around and it looked like he was flipping me the middle finger... Gorillas are really good at expressing their feelings.
It's no secret that non-human animals have emotions and sometimes very sophisticated minds — and people are beginning to recognize this. Some studies have even shown that people value pets over humans. A group of scientists recently signed the Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness affirming that many animals are conscious, and plenty of other experts agree that certain species should obtain personhood rights. When we see animals engaging in human-like antics like this, it's easy to see why they might be considered "persons."
Here are a few other animals who prove that personalities are not just for people.
1. Mishka the Talking Dog
It might look like Mishka is simply repeating the words her human feeds her — until the human says, "Are you stupid?", and the husky's answer is a resounding, "Nooooo."
2. Koko the ASL-Speaking Gorilla
In addition to speaking American Sign Language (ASL), Koko has cared for pets the same way humans do. Far from being a pet herself, she used ASL to name her first kitten "All Ball" and cried and signed "sad" repeatedly after he died. Fortunately, Koko has adopted several cats since, and they've all clearly had an excellent mom.
3. Tarra the Elephant
Tarra also had a close furry friend, Bella the dog, who shared her sanctuary in Tennessee. Tarra saw Bella through some tough times, sitting vigil outside her house when she was injured until the sanctuary's owners let her come out for petting and even carrying her home after she died from a coyote attack out in the woods.
4. The "Oh Long Johnson" Cat
Warning: This possessed-sounded cat is kind of creepy, but if you can get past that, the senseless string of phrases it utters on America's Funniest Home Videos — "Oh don piano... all the live long day" — is pretty poetic (and the source of one conspiracy theory).
So be nice to your pets, everyone, or you might be the target some of lewd gestures yourself.
Images: Adam Rifkin/Flickr