Famed bonobo, resident of Des Moines, turns 40

October 31, 2020 GMT

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Kanzi, who is almost certainly the world’s most famous bonobo, is celebrating a milestone birthday.

The Des Moines Register reports that Kanzi turned 40 on Wednesday. He resides at a research center in Des Moines.

Kanzi can use abstract symbols to communicate with people, and understands some spoken words. Scientists have written books suggesting that Kanzi is better at those skills than any other bonobo.

He has played piano with Paul McCartney, interacted with CNN’s Anderson Cooper and appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”


Bonobos are closely related to chimpanzees and are found in the wild only in the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. Genetically, they are among humans’ closest relatives.