In the Rise of the Planet of the Apes, when Caesar was moved to the ape sanctuary, it was shown that Caesar was with another big ape that was able to communicate through sign language.

This was before Caesar shares the intelligence virus (ALZ-113) on his fellow apes.

Did that specific ape gain intelligence earlier his life? Simple vet training? Or was he also exposed to the treatment?

Is there any canon answer to this? Even deduced answers are accepted.

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    Apes have (arguably) been taught to communicate through sign language in real life. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koko_(gorilla) – Will Feldman Jul 14 '14 at 1:05
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    The term "gained intelligence" is inaccurate. The orangutan learned sign language, but at this point in the film he was still a regular great ape. – Jeff-Inventor ChromeOS Aug 6 '14 at 10:01

"Caesar was with another big ape" you mean this guy, Maurice (Orangutan)? enter image description here

Then this big ape did not gain intelligence from treatment but he knows sign language because he was in circus in the past. At this mark in the movie where Caesar and Maurice were talking in sign language, Caesar asks

00:49:07,361 --> 00:49:10,363 You know sign?

then Maurice replies

00:49:11,449 --> 00:49:14,075 Circus Orangutan.

So, it's pretty obvious that Maurice gained his intelligence from working in Circus.

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  • Chosen as answer for giving the sign translations from the film. Clears things up. Thanks. :) – Zaenille Jul 14 '14 at 6:13
  • @Napoleon Wilson I think Maurice is a female Orangutan because in the movie, the impressions of Maurice is made by this woman Karin Konoval. – chaitanya89 Jul 14 '14 at 9:53
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    @chaitanya89 Then I'd wonder why it has a male name. – Napoleon Wilson Jul 14 '14 at 9:55
  • @Napoleon Wilson Okay, didn't know Maurice is a male name. – chaitanya89 Jul 14 '14 at 9:59

Apes have been trained in the use of sign language for decades. However, whether they truly understand the signs they use or simply become good at mimicking them to earn some type of reward has been disputed for about as long as they've been trained to use sign language.

Read more about Koko the gorilla for a bit of insight into training apes to use sign language.

From the film's perspective, the sanctuary Caesar is placed in is home to apes used in other various research endeavors, or rescued from owners, just to name a few examples of why they'd be there. The ape that's able to communicate with sign language likely learned it as part of a research program it went through prior to ending up in the sanctuary.

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