You are sitting on the bus, minding your own business when suddenly the most beautiful girl in the world walks by. She has grace, class and even the sun seems to shine just on her- reflecting beams of light off her angelic face (which is odd because you’re on a shaded bus and it’s raining). The perfect songs ring out of her iPod and the scent of French perfume fills the air- but all you can do is stare. You contemplate walking up to her and asking the time, But then realize she is way out of your league, so you slouch down and look at your sneakers instead. ‘How can a poor guy from the slums win over a high class girl,’ you wonder. Your backgrounds are so different in terms of money, education and physical appearance that you might as well be members of different species! Forget about love, would it even be possible to be her friend, can animals of different species be friends?
According to many zoological accounts the answer is yes.
Let’s start with the most famous case- Koko and the kittens. Koko, the Gorilla, was born on July 4th 1971 in San Francisco, CA to a proud primate mom, along with a group of well learned scientists. Over the years Koko managed to master sign language and a good chunk of spoken English. She hung out with a silverback named Michael, who scored high up on his IQ test, as well as her zoologist buddies. You’d think that such a well educated gorilla would be a tier above simple land mammals, such as the housecat. But no, something about a certain kitten named ‘All Ball’ struck a chord in Koko; and as odd and improbable as it may seem, they became the best of friends. The two played, ate and even cuddled together. Koko soon became friends with many other felines. Although she would learn and study with her trainers each day, and although the material was too complex for her friends, she was eager to communicate with the kittens- even if that meant teaching them herself.
Next we have Owen and Mizee. A tortoise and hippo who currently reside in Haller Park in Mombasa, Kenya. It all started one ill fated day when the devastating 2004 Tsunami hit. Mizee the Hippo was separated from his family and left stranded on the shore. He came across a century old Tortoise named Owen, who took Mizee under his wing. The crinkled, old, Navy green tortoise showed wear and tear from the years. Mizee, the young, curvaceous, beautiful, leather-skinned hippo didn’t care. He looked into Mizee’s wrinkled eyes but all he could see was warmth. The bond was instant! Where Owen goes, Mizee goes! They bathe in mud together, sleep by eachother’s side and even swim together- although Owen is not as amphibious or energetic as Mizee, it doesn’t seem to bother the hippo. They look physically alien together but the two are just happy chillin on the coast as BFFs.
Last off we have Baxter and Miss Dog. A set of friends who live on a farm in the Midwest. Correction- Miss Dog, who is actually a chicken, lives on the farm in a simple wooden shed while Baxter, the Golden retriever, lives in a comfortable house, equipped with heating, clean blankets, and electrical lighting. According to Baxter’s owner, he gives up the comforts of luxury each night to lay by the side of his chicken friend and snuggle with her by the metal heater near the coup. He might just be a dog but he understands that a warm expensive bed and a cold heart can’t compare to a cold bed warmed by the bond of his soulmate.
So, here comes the question. If gorillas, reptiles and poultry can coexist and disregard differences in intelligence, physical beauty and wealth, why can’t we get past this as humans. No one can tell if the connection between the animals in the previous scenarios was true love or deep friendship, but they did form a pair bond. And for animlas to do so puts their survival and genes at risk. So why can’t we do the same within our own species, when we have a lot less to lose?
It seems that our highly developed brains, the same organ that allows us complicated reasoning, also tends to cloud our judgment. Will the boy on the bus be able to put his insecurities and fears aside in order to ask out the pretty girl?
If my zoological proof isn’t good enough let’s look at a more reliable and factual source –Hollywood.
Billy Joel says Uptown girls can fall in love with backstreet guys and backstreet girls, according to the movies, can fall in love with Richard Gere. Heck, pretty women can even fall for guys with scissorhands. So, before the bus stops and you lose the opportunity to meet a great human girl- think of how much harder it would be to ask a moose for coffee.