Lucy, the Human Chimp

Lucy, the Human Chimp

Series 1 - Episode 1



This is one of those extraordinary tales of a well-meaning (but in the end, cruel) attempt to raise a chimpanzee as a human child. Lucy was a captive chimp adopted in 1964 by psychologists at the University of Oklahoma, who taught her sign language and raised her as their daughter in a radical test of nature v nurture.

Once Lucy grew into an adult, however, they realised they had to return her to the wild. The hero of the story is Janis Carter, a graduate student who ended up accompanying Lucy to a remote reserve in Africa, where she was to be taught survival skills and released. It’s a moving story about what we do and don’t share with our close animal relatives.


Documentary about Lucy, a chimpanzee who was raised as a human in the 1960s, living with a psychology professor from the University of Oklahoma as a member of his family. When the experiment became too dangerous to continue, Lucy was returned to the wild, accompanied by a student who chose to live with her on a remote uninhabited island, adopting the behaviour of apes in the hope of teaching Lucy the skills she has lost.

Cast & Crew

Director Alex Parkinson
Executive Producer Matt Cole