Zanam was one of two friendly gorillas who were assigned to guard the speaking human, Ulysse Mérou, on their planet of Soror, in the Pierre Boulle novel La Planète des singes.


Zanam worked at the Institute for Advanced Biological Study as animal handler. He along with his partner Zoram were present when a new catch of men came to the Institute. The gorillas bagged every animal into a sack and hauled them each into a stationary cage in their ward. Ulysse Mérou and Nova were among the last animals the pair of gorillas transported.

Noticing Ulysse's tranquil behavior as opposed to the other animals, as they unloaded food, one of gave him a friendly tap on the shoulder. The pair witnessed the man look at them straight in the eye, put a hand on his chest, and gave a ceremonious bow. That was not the limit of their surprise as the man smiled at them and formal introduced himself. The apes though stupefied began roaring in laughter as they exited the cage believing it was an act of imitation. Ulysse angered by their dismissal roared at them in every language he could think of however they failed to understand him. While failing to be recognized the gorillas reported the man to their superior, Zira.

The next day they brought Zira to the strange man who immediately tried to introduce himself once again as a gentleman. The apes found this to be hilarious but quickly composed themselves before the chimpanzee. They stood at the ready when Ulysse touched her hand through the bars, but after seeing he meant now harm, Zira order the gorillas to give her a lump of sugar to reward the man.

The apes then began to conduct a Pavlov experiment on conditioning in which a gorilla blew a whistle and then ostentatiously revealing a banana before hiding it behind his back. He performed on Ulysse, the man failed to exhibit the expected reflex action. Ulysse was able to determine what they expected from him by watching their interactions with the other captives. Nova especially provided Ulysse a fine example, watering her mouth like a dog at the sight of the tidbit. The Earthman attempted to display this action, however it only further confused the apes as why was the man who before had no reflexes at all suddenly acquired conditioned reflexes.

In another conditioned experiment the gorillas brought a bell and electric generator which they attached to the bars of the cage. They proceeded to ring the bell and turned on the machine causing the subject to feel an electric shock when it held the bars of the cage. When the applied the experiment on Ulysse, the man anticipated this and at the first sound of the bell retreated from the bars. Seeing this behavior they began to suspect that Ulysse was teasing them. Zaïus the head of the Institute arrived and the gorillas subserviently welcomed him. However Ulysse noticed their furtive glances and sensed they disliked the orangutan and decided to imitate the ape to the laughter of Zanam, Zanam, and Zira. The man continued to shock them with several examples of his high degree intelligence: vocalizing Zaïus and Zira's names, though he used the honorific term for Zira to the delight of the staff. The gorillas then resumed their experiment, only fumbling after Ulysse should no sign of being shock when he held the cage bars only to realize that he had unclipped it. The apes assisted in Zaïu and Zira on mentally testing Ulysse until they were exhausted with the latter succeeding in passing all they threw at him.

When Zaïus decided to conduct a sexual selectivity experiment he paired several of the captives together. Zanam and Zoram hauled Ulysse from his cage to Nova.

He cared for Ulysse until the latter was recognized as a sapient being and liberated. He soon found himself working under the human as a subordinate. Ulysse noticing that Nova had vanished from her cage, demanded Zanam on her whereabouts to which he was unable to determine as the woman was just transferred without an explanation.

Personality & Traits

Zanam was a gorilla that was typical of his kind. A laborer and a loyal worker. He was kind to his human charges so long they behaved. Like his colleague Zoram they disliked the authority of Zaius. He was originally friendly towards Ulysse when he thought him to be an intelligent animal, though after he was recognized as a sapient being, he was forced to take orders from him.

Analogs in other media

The character Julius in the 1968 Planet of the Apes movie takes the place of Zoram and Zanam, but displays a villainous streak which these characters did not have.

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