Among the offerings at this year's Sundance Film Festival is a documentary about a trailblazing chimpanzee named Nim Chimpsky who played a key role in the scientific debate over what it means to be human.
The James Marsh film, "Project Nim," explores the life of the primate — cheekily named after linguist Noam Chomsky — that was raised like a human child and taught American Sign Language in the 1970s in an effort to prove that language was not exclusive to humans.
Four decades later, the questions raised by the experiment are still far from settled.
As an infant, Chimpsky was taken to live with the LaFarge family in New York City. There, among seven human...