Meet Chester. Chester is a beautiful Western lowland gorilla from Angola, currently on display at the Los Angeles Zoo. As if that didn’t already make him awesome enough, Chester has a special talent: He constantly uses American Sign Language to declare that he is God!
Researchers say that they had only taught Chester the sign language words for “hello” and “food” before the gorilla suddenly signed to them, “Enough. I am God. I am God. Worship me worship me worship me.” He’s been delighting visitors to the zoo with these adorable messages ever since!
Chester’s command of sign language is incredibly advanced for a gorilla. While even the most gifted members of his species tend to sign very rudimentary messages of one or two words—such as “give food” or “scared”—Chester has been able to use sign language to communicate comparatively complex sentences such as, “I am the Lord who made the sky,” “I make the light happen,” and “I will swallow the Devil alive.”
“Needless to say, when scientists found out that there was a gorilla using sign language to say complicated things like, ‘I am the One True Lord’ and ‘I came before the sun,’ the whole primatology community began to take notice,” says Dr. Madelyn Richardson, who leads a team of researchers currently studying Chester’s incredible language abilities. “The range of his communication skills is remarkable. Sometimes the gorilla will sign highly complex sentences like, ‘I built you all from the dust of Eden,’ and other times he’ll just point to the sky, and then to himself, and then to the sky again, and then back to himself. He’ll do that for hours.”
Dr. Richardson states she recognized Chester’s value to the scientific community immediately. “When a gorilla can say a complex sentence like, ‘I will drown you all in the floodwaters’ using perfect American Sign Language, that’s not something you ignore,” she says. “This is a significant breakthrough in the field of primatology. Chester is a truly amazing gorilla.”
She forgot to mention that he’s super cute, too!