by Darlene Salenga
Group 8 - Heavyweight STS X2
Life of Mammals/Social Climbers is a documentary series by David Attenborough where he showed and discussed the life of our closest animal relatives, the intelligent apes. The documentary showed how different species of apes from different parts of the world cope and live with nature. We saw them adjust and hone their skills and capabilities to the best that they can do to survive the environment they are situated in. Each family of apes seen in the documentary has their own way of hunting for food; One kind looks for food during nighttime so as to avoid predators. Others eat the sap and the insides of tree trunks. There's also this family of chimps which feeds on smaller monkeys to make up for their vegetarian diet. Because of food and the way apes use to find it, David discovered how this also has been vital to the evolution of the human brain. Apart from the food hunting, the movie also showed the different lifestyles and culture of apes. One was recorded rowing a boat, and there's also this barrel of monkeys which picks lice from other monkeys' hair and eats it. The lice removing thing is the norm among monkeys. Leadership and social hierarchy is also eminent in the monkey race. Young monkeys respect and imitate the older monkeys' ways. They would never pick a fight with the leader of the troop for they will face lots of wild monkeys fighting for the leader. However, if one monkey still went to pick a fight with a superior, he will either be dead afterwards or too wounded and tired to function and will eventually die. After the life and culture of apes, the film showed an ape walking using only its 2 legs. That scene served as an introduction to Food for Thought. It showed about the transition of apes to humans and what will be the future of us.
The documentary really served its purpose. We learned a lot about our closest animal relative and I somewhat find so many similarities in terms of attitudes and personalities for both humans and monkeys. We both have this social hierarchy and the solidarity among families. Some people also have this animal attitude; they tend to be selfish and just plain obnoxious as if their brains are same size with the brains of the early inhabitants of Earth. Kidding aside, so much has happened and so many species has evolved. What will happen next in our generation is a thing to look forward to. Maybe there really are aliens. Why not? And maybe I will be the one to make a documentary out of it. Why not? Kidding.