Toys are not merely playthings, but a reflection of our culture and the world itself. They shape and mold the next wave of grown-ups. What, then, should we make of the gorilla invasion at F.A.O. Schwarz?

That fabled toy store is a veritable ape sanctuary these days. Stuffed gorillas. Plastic ones. Gorillas puppets. Gorillas that growl. Gorillas that morph into machines. And in keeping with the typical F.A.O. Schwarz mode of display, there’s not just one of each gorilla toy, but seemingly hundreds.

I believe we are witnessing evolution itself unfolding–an advancement of apes that pales only in comparison to Planet of the Apes. Let’s consider the evidence:

In January, the Dunston Checks In opened. The plot and script–human inventions–were awful, but the ape was pretty good. He’s smart enough to steal jewels and then escape from his owners. It was our first look of the year at an ape with a personality and intelligence, but by no means our last.

In March the movie Ed showed us a chimp smart enough to lead a baseball team to championship glory. I guess to a Cubs fan, anything seems possible.

Only 150 years after Darwin’s Origin of Species, the pope formally announced in October that he will now allow Catholics to acknowledge that evolution is more than a hypothesis. Yet women are still not good enough to be priests. It appears that apes are now about on par with women.

So just how close are we to those apes? Well, a few days after Darwin got the Vatican nod, a paleontologist from Slovenia found a prehistoric flute that suggests those apelike Neanderthals enjoyed a little music now and then. We once believed they couldn’t even talk.

And snaring the lion’s share of gorilla fame this year, so to speak, Brookfield Zoo’s Binti Jua saved a little boy who’d fallen into her exhibit, protecting him from the other primates. We now had proof that gorillas could manipulate the media.

Let’s recap: Apes are now deemed worthy to be considered relatives of humans by a man who millions believe gets his information directly from God. Apes are at least as good as women, and probably better than reporters. Apes who are funnier, more intelligent, and as compassionate as humans dominate our mass entertainment and media. Our children are being taught to identify with apes by playing with toy gorillas.

Anyone seen the Statue of Liberty lately?