APLASCA, Ana Patricia A.
A Reaction Paper on: Social Climbers and Food for Thought
Social Climbers and Food for Thought are the last two episodes of the documentary series The Life of Mammals by David Attenborough. Both of these focus on monkeys and apes: their lifestyle, survival, and relationships among themselves.
It was clearly shown in the video that monkeys can really be brutal to their neighbors. Hierarchy is also very evident in these animals. If a monkey is born as high-ranked, it is automatically superior to others. One good example in the documentary is when one high-ranked monkey forcefully got the food from the mouth of a low-ranked monkey. The latter did not even fight back, although it kept its mouth closed at first, but the former eventually got what it wanted.
In a troop of baboons, relationships, especially those between males and females, are complex. If a female baboon finds a mate that is outside of her group, that new male baboon still has to make an effort before he gets accepted by everyone. This just shows the exclusiveness of their groups. Sometimes male baboons are the ones who take care of the young because this makes them more attractive to the females, and this is also one way to defend themselves whenever they sense danger. For these animals, no baboon that carries a baby should get hurt.
Their way of survival is also fascinating, because they did not just depend on plants, insects and the like; they tried to get out of their way and attempted to hunt for something else, and it was flamingoes. When one baboon tried to attack a flight of these birds and it was successful in doing so, flamingoes eventually became part of their diet.
It was also interesting to see that in one part of the documentary, it was shown how the young chimpanzees learn from their parents. They have their own abilities and ways to survive. For example, in cracking nuts, the baby chimpanzees observe how the older ones do it and once they are confident enough to do the same, they start to apply their own techniques.
Seeing the documentary really makes you realize how intelligent monkeys and apes are. Just like humans, they also make use of their initiative. They closely observe what nature does to them and how it affects them, and therefore adjusting to these changes. It was also featured in the documentary that when these animals live with humans, they eventually copy what people do. It is amazing to see how they can move and think just like us. They also have creative ways in surviving. They eventually learned how to hunt for meat to add to the plants that they always eat, and this hunting became more efficient when they learned how to stand upright. These methods have greatly helped in the evolution of their brains.
In the last part of the documentary, David Attenborough traveled to Tikal, where the first civilization of the Mayans occurred. He traced back how that civilization collapsed and he tried to relate it with the present time. It makes us realize that we may also experience what happened to the Mayans who were once so strong and stable but have eventually reached its greatest downfall in the end.