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How time flies

titlepieceTHE old man shields his eyes against the fierce light of the Altiplano and considers the question. When he talks about his ancestors, does he mean the Incas? No, he replies in a sort of Spanish creole, he means his great-great-grandfather. And with his right hand he makes a rotating gesture up and forwards from his body. The Incas, he adds, came way earlier. And with the same hand he sweeps even further forward, towards the mountains on the horizon…

This article first appeared in the Guardian on 24 February 2005. To continue reading click here.

Furry logic

titlepieceIT was an ordinary day at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington DC. Five orang utans were milling about the yard of the exhibit called the think tank, playing intermittently with a barrel that a keeper had rolled out for them. By the time staff had realised that the power to the electric fence on top of the wall had failed, orang utan Bonnie had up-ended the barrel, scaled it and escaped. Mingling with the zoo’s visitors, her baby son Kiko clinging to her body, she headed for lunch…

This article first appeared in the Guardian on 19 June 2003. To continue reading click here.