The language of love
30.06.34: COLETTE, the talking ape, and her human speech facilitator, Claude Lemann, have announced that they intend to be married.
If the ceremony goes ahead, planned at a lunar hotel out of terrestrial legal jurisdiction, it will mark the world's first inter-species marriage.
Colette, a 17-year-old great ape, is the only primate to undergo 'artificially enhanced evolution'. She was separated from her mother at birth and brought up by human foster parents.
To encourage Colette's development, electrical currents were used to stimulate the frontal lobes of her brain - the areas responsible for thought and imagination - and the left-hemisphere areas, which in humans are responsible for language. Her jaw and vocal cords were surgically altered to make it possible for her to talk, and she was subjected to continuous, intensive speech training. Lemann, 52, took over her education last year, and in May he announced on WebWorld that their relationship had 'blossomed into romance'.
Their wedding plans have sent shock waves through the scientific community and Lemann has been accused of exploitation, perversion and blasphemy. 'This is just prejudice,' he said. 'We are in love and nothing will stand in our way.'
Dressed in a grey suit, with her facial hair closely shaved, Colette smiled shyly at photographers and held hands with Lemann throughout their press statement. Her verbal skills - said by Lemann to be those of an average 17-year-old human - were not greatly in evidence.
However, when asked how she felt about Lemann, she turned to him and said softly but clearly: 'Je t'aime.' RC