Dr. Lyn Miles, seated, with Paul McCartney, right.

Professor Meets Beatle

Dr. Lyn Miles, of the UTC Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Geography met with a rare Beatle recently, one who is environmentally savvy and interested in the Great Apes. Before Paul McCartney performed in Atlanta, he and his fiancé Heather Mills, model and activist against land mines, met with Miles to discuss Ape Net., a group of scientists, scholars, benefactors and celebrities dedicated to creating culture-based sanctuaries for great apes all over the world. This new organization was founded by rock star Peter Gabriel, who arranged for McCartney and University of Chattanooga Foundation Professor Miles to meet.

Miles is also president of the Chantek Foundation, named in honor of the orangutan Miles raised as "my cross-foster son on the UTC campus, beginning in 1978." The goal of the foundation is to create a culture and conservation center where Chantek and other enculturated apes would reside, and use tools, computers, art and sign language. "The Community Foundation of Chattanooga can receive tax-exempt donations to the Chantek Foundation, while its nonprofit status is pending," Miles said. Chantek currently resides at Zoo Atlanta, where Miles serves as a senior research fellow.

"When I met McCartney, I presented him with a cocoa bean rattle assembled by
Chantek who uses it in his music and art studies with me. I also presented Ms. Mills with a found art assemblage, a brass and wood macramé wall hanging, constructed by Chantek," Miles said.

Although McCartney did not have time in his schedule to meet Chantek, he promised to return to Atlanta in about six months to meet him. Miles enjoyed McCartney’s Atlanta concert, and was delighted by a whimsical on-stage moment.

‘During the first encore, McCartney pointed to our group and said ‘this one’s for you,’ and he and his band members walked around the stage like monkeys!" Miles said.