Thomas Warren, wtop.com
WASHINGTON - The Baltimore Ravens will win the Super Bowl. At least, that's the prediction from chimpanzees at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.
The chimps picked their winner based on banners. Two brown paper banners, bearing either the Ravens or 49ers team names, were taped to the glass on either side of their play area.
Whichever banner they tore down first would be their pick to win the game.
The chimps were let into the room and within seconds, they congregated to the Ravens banner.
"I know they looked around a little bit. I think they had to think about it," says Jane Ballentine, director of public relations at the zoo.
Two chimps did most of the damage, ripping the Ravens banner down first.
It also didn't hurt that kid-sized Ravens footballs and pretzels were placed on the ground underneath the banner.
"Looks like a Ravens victory, according to our chimps," Ballentine says.
Ravens Linebacker Ray Lewis has been a major storyline leading into Sunday's game. Zookeeper Anne Sherwin believes the chimps themselves may have been inspired by Lewis.
"Yep, they were thinking about number 52," Sherwin says.
The zoo has an ongoing bet with the San Francisco Zoo. Ballentine says the losing team's zoo will create an exhibit of the winning team to display for a month, beginning Feb. 11. The details of that exhibit are still being worked out.
The Maryland Zoo houses Ravens mascots Rise and Conquer. The two birds are hybrids of the brown-necked raven from North Africa, and the pied crow from Southern Africa, according to the Ravens' website.
Ballentine says the zoo has not decided what they will rename the exhibit, if the Ravens should lose Sunday.
"We're a little superstitious, so we're just going to leave it at that. If we have to make some tough decisions on Monday, we'll start that process," she says.
The 49ers mascot is a Black Rhino named Boone, after 49ers offensive lineman Alex Boone. In a press release, San Francisco Zoo President and Chief Executive Officer Tanya Peterson says they will change Boone's living quarters to resemble that of the Baltimore mascots if her team loses.
"We'll even have Boone's enrichment look like crow - I mean, raven - because if the 49ers lose, we are all eating crow here," Peterson says.
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