Jonathan Rod S. De Guzman
STS X2 Group 5 Mai-team
STS X2 Group 5 Mai-team
Reaction Paper on Life of Mammals: Social Climbers and Food for Thought
The documentaries, Social Climbers and Food for Thought, showed many of the similarities of the human race with, according to science and evolutionary biology in particular, our closest relatives, the apes. The first video showed that apes, like humans, are also very social in nature and that they have unique characteristics individually which can define their connections and social standing and, ultimately, their chances of survival and their mortal longevity. It may also give a glimpse of what the primal ‘human’ society looks like—just like in the pre-modern societies of the human race and, to a certain extent, in present times, patriarchy is also the ruling social order. The apes, particularly those who mingle in large social groups, live under a despotic form of leadership wherein the alpha male, usually the biggest, the strongest, and, sometimes, the most ‘beautiful’ male, acts as the despot and exercise full power and authority over the group.
On the other hand, the second video showed a sort of Marxist materialistic take on how apes live and survive—material conditions define how individuals live and act. The second video showed a very good example of how living things adapt in order to survive. One thing I found particularly surprising was the idea that apes could also be omnivores. Since the baboons were living on flatlands, they needed to find a new food source and that food source happened to be flamingos. It, in all probability, is a point for my ignorance but still it is a foreign thought for me that apes could eat animal flesh. The second documentary also refreshed the lesson on the Mayan civilization, particularly environmental breakdown that led to the fall of Tikal and eventually the whole Mayan civilization.
The past is not necessarily a blueprint of what’s to come—in fact the past could better serve as a reminder of humanity’s past mistakes which we in the present could learn from. The flourishing human race could avoid the faith of the Maya should it open its eyes to the signs of deterioration and should it listen to the cries of Mother Nature. Mr Attenborough could not have put it more aptly:
Perhaps the time has now come to put that process into reverse. Instead of controlling the environment for the benefit of the population, perhaps it’s time we control the population to allow the survival of the environment. (David Attenborough)