Sunday, May 11, 2014

Jasper Cruz - Reaction Paper

Jasper A. Cruz                                                                                                           
Reaction Paper # 2
STS – Prof. J. Sonido
Reaction Paper: On the Life of Mammals (installment documentaries)
These mammals are often seen as primates, who are always up to no good. For some, they see these creatures as our origins or perhaps to whom we evolved from. And, as you may have guessed – they are apes and monkeys. They were featured on The Social Climbers and Food for Thought, installments of the 10-part documentary, Life of Mammals produced by BBC.
           The installment documentaries were able to encapsulate how the monkeys and apes live like and how they adapt to their environment. I found it fascinating that each kind of monkey has its own ways to survive given its body structure.  There is the Saki, the spider monkey that uses its tail to reach its food, the Pygmy marmoset that gnaws away on tree trunks for its food and also the red howler monkey that uses its excellent color vision to pick the best leaves for its food. What I also found remarkable is that, like us, humans, they also have their hierarchy which is political in a way like some monkeys, particularly the Saki monkeys. They denote and display seniority.
          In addition, the next documentary, Food For Thought, our capabilities, skills and know-hows as human beings were compared to those of the monkeys and apes. These chimps were seen to have a decent survival skills such as in nut-cracking and rowing boats. The apes were also found to have the capability to imitate us humans in searching for food, tool making etc.
That is why, it has been said in the documentary that all of these go to show that the monkeys and apes are our closest relatives as they were able to adapt to their environment and manipulate it even. And, to further compare these chimps to us, humans, in the closing part of the second documentary, the ruins of the Mayan civilization were once again shown. Attenborough recalled how the Mayans adapted, manipulated, and engineered their complex society and how it gradually fell.
After watching the documentary, I realized that animals like the apes and the monkeys are not really far much different from us, we share likenesses. Like us, they know how to adapt and cope with the place they are living in. Like us, at least what was shown in the clip, they know how to establish their hierarchy based on their capabilities. Like us, they also have an undesirable attribute that is discriminating against those who are different and marginalized. (Case in point: only those high-ranking male monkeys can ‘mate’.)
Most importantly, I realized something about our fast-paced society and we should ponder on this: If the Mayan civilization back then was considered if not the most prevailing, one of the most powerful civilization but their society fell. I would say that we should not be so complacent because our modern society is not far from struggling with the same luck. That is why we are studying all of these, their history in particular in order to learn from them and not to commit the same mistakes they made.

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