Documentary examining the idea that apes possess their own culture.
The Cultured Ape concentrates on the many discoveries - well
known to primatologists but still, it seems, alien to people at large -
which show that humans are but one end of a behavioural and
psychological spectrum, rather than an island separated from the rest of
the animal kingdom. Concepts traditionally regarded as uniquely human,
such as the development, maintenance and transmission of cultures,
complex communication, and the use of tools, are of course now well
recorded for chimps and other primates, and a good case can be made that chimps and other
non-humans also display less quantifiable traits such as guilt,
deception, aesthetic enjoyment and hatred. When gorillas in zoos have
looked after children who have fallen into their enclosures, are they
not displaying altruism? Reportedly, mortally wounded chimps display
behaviour that - if witnessed in a human - would be interpreted as
pleading for mercy.
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