Sunday, May 11, 2014

CAMOMOT - Social Climbers and Food for Thought

CAMOMOT, Kaia Louise R.
2013-17839 STS X2

About a week ago, our class watched two documentaries on animals. The first documentary was “The Social Climber” which was about the different monkeys inhabiting our forests, and their ways of survival. The second documentary was “Food For Thought” which was about the evolution of man from apes. Both of the documentaries are from BBC’s The Life of Mammals, hosted by David Attenborough.

The first documentary, The Social Climber, was a very interesting one for me. It showed us how different monkeys survived in the wild: How they took care of their children, how they gain territory, how they search or hunt for food, and so much more. I found the capuchins and the pygmy marmosets really cute. In this documentary, they also showed us how monkeys also have a hierarchy system. There are those born with high positions and who were superior to all the rest, and those that are below them. There was also this one scene where they showed that monkeys have different warning calls when it came to their predators, and what predator it was that was nearby. Attenborough demonstrated this by putting a fake leopard near them, and the monkeys started howling all around.

The second documentary, Food For Thought, was also pretty interesting because it showed how apes evolved into the common man. I found the opening scene cool, wherein it showed an orangutan washing clothes. There was also a scene where an orangutan was using a saw to cut a piece of wood into two parts. It seemed so human. This then led to the present times where we have different machines to make our lives easier, much like how orangutans used different things they saw in their surroundings to make for them an easier way of living. The documentary ended with Attenborough in Tikal, a Mayan civilization. The Mayans, like us, were intelligent human beings. They built civilizations from nothing but scratch. And for the longest time, they were successful. But in the end, they did not survive. We, in present times, are successful, too. But will we suffer the same fate as them?

In these documentaries that we watched, I saw how similar these monkeys and apes are to us, human beings. From research, chimpanzees are about 96% similar to humans and I find that amazing that an animal could so closely resemble us. How they stand upright, how they have a very organized hierarchy system, how they feed and hunt, how they use simple tools, and mostly how they adapt. That part where the orangutan was washing clothes, that wasn’t taught to the orangutan. She simply got it probably from a villager she saw. How they learned how to keep hitting nuts on tree barks for it to crack open, and how intently their young watched them, slowly learning. They are such smart animals, and observing them like how Attenborough did seems like something that I would enjoy doing. These are wild animals, and yet their ways of living are so much alike from ours. It got me thinking that with them living in the forest, they already know so much, what more if they were raised in human environments? What more could they possibly learn? How much more could they possibly adopt from us?

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