The new animal in Spain's zoo - urban man - may visit Boston
Bostonians may be the first Americans who will have a chance to view the latest attraction of Spain's Barcelona zoo: Homo sapiens urbo, better known as urban man.
Since Boston and Barcelona are sister cities with a mutual cooperation agreement involving cultural and scientific exchanges, urban man may come to Boston.
Record crowds of more than 12,000 people turned out in Barcelona over the weekend to gawk at the star exhibit, Catalonian actor Albert Vidal, as he strutted around his penned quarters, next to the chimpanzees.
Vidal used many props in a series of pantomime shows to represent urban man in his natural habitat - the urban jungle.
Urban man played waking up, washing, and dressing, followed by gulping down breakfast while listening to radio news with worried looks. He obsessively looked at his watch while reading newspapers, then pretended to drive to work.
Then came the office show: The urban man looked at documents and papers in his briefcase, but he grew increasingly irritated by incessant phone calls. After signs of office stress, the human played the going-home game, fighting traffic again, then eating dinner while watching the news on TV with looks of disgust.
Between shows, urban man groomed himself in front of a mirror, rode an exercise bike, or watched TV with a glazed look. Sometimes he would run around his quarters examining his props: a bed, dining table, office desk, TV, wash basin, and closed portable toilet. Scientists call this activity ''recognizing space.''
The daring exhibition was designed to stir interest in the plight of urban man.
''Between man and monkey there is not as much difference as people think,'' said zoo director Antonio Jonch. ''Modern man is as locked up in a small apartment in today's cities as are the chimps here in the zoo.''
A standard zoo poster explained the typical characteristics of the Homo sapiens urbom species, such as average weight and size and feeding habits, along with a map that indicated the major areas in the world where the creature can be found. The man was fed by keepers who brought him cafeteria food on a tray with a paper.
He was released early last week and had no trouble readapting to the urban jungle of Barcelona.
Besides Boston, New York and Miami are interested in contracting the zoo show , say Vidal, who was paid slightly under $3,000 for his captivity.