This feature delves into the social behavior of the apes, the closest animal counterparts to humans. It highlights the evolution of the species and how they compare to human evolution.
The apes are capable of what can be described as emotion since they display feelings of compassion, cooperation and empathy. They also display behaviors such as grooming each other that indicates they value fairness and reciprocity in relationships. They also show great capability of caring for each other since they make an effort to comfort each other and seek reconciliation after fights.
Studies of certain tribes and species also indicate that they develop their own social customs like choosing whether to eat certain things or not which ends up being a differentiator and marker of their specific tribe. Their similarities raise questions for anthropologists when they compare their social structures with human social structures. It is interesting to note the parallels can be drawn and inferences can be made from the comparisons. The comparisons include leadership structures, gender-based social organization and role assignments.
In the past, observing these animals meant personally observing their habitat and behavior and possibly even interacting with the animals. With technological advancement, cameras can be used to observe their behavior, which increases the volume of possible discoveries and also makes them more detailed.
Researchers find that chimps can plan for the future, have self knowledge and can also recall past events. It is another comparison that highlights their similarities to humans. They also demonstrate behaviors that raise the question of whether or not they engage in religious or even recreational activities.
However, one major difference between humans and animals is the fact that humans can reproduce successfully and can do so rapidly enough to populate large areas in a short period of time, followed by a sharp technological advancement often to the detriment of the environment.
Therefore, while studies continue there are also clear lessons to be drawn about learning to live in harmony with nature and with each other.
Directed by: Anja Krug-Metzinger