Robbie Griffin September 29, 2009 ANT 2140 “Ape Genius,” Overview In the short film, "Ape Genius," the intellectual mannerisms of the featured apes seem to reflect those characteristics of humans far clearer than one might have thought. As it has never been seen before by people, the chimps are now participating in "pool parties," and expressively enjoying themselves in the cool waters. Anthropologists and psychologists alike are asking the question, “What is the big difference between humans and are closet living relatives, the apes.” The film reveals the skills, reasoning powers and emotions displayed by the apes that were once thought only to be uniquely human. Behavioral characteristics of chimps, bonobos and humans are similar but do vary dramatically. Whereas in most other species sexual behavior is fairly a distinct category, in the Bonobo it is part of social relations. Bonobo culture is female-centered, egalitarian and substitutes sex for aggression. Many of the roots of human behavior can be traced to our primate heritage, including survival through cooperation and mutual assistance. Unlike bonobos, sexual control is evidenced in humans. Marriage typically serves as a sexual control mechanism. The major difference between humans and apes are not anatomical, but rather behavioral. Chimpanzees resemble humans more than any other animal with regard to mental processes. The most significant behavioral difference in humans is the complex uses of objects and languages. Human children refer to items in a representational manner at an early age. Anthropologists have found that chimps do have culture, in the way that they can generate idea and share those ideas through imitation. Chimps in Senegal make and sharpen spears with their teeth to hunt bush babies. Jane Goodall observed the relationship between the mother and the baby and found that apes do share the same emotions as humans. For instance, weeks after a baby’s death, the mother carried the baby on her back. This gesture by the mother could symbolize her grieving, mourning or even denial. Throughout the video I was consistently impressed with the bonobs and chimps. One in particular ape was given a cylindrical clear container with a peanut in the bottom. The container was too small to reach to the bottom, so the ape filler her mouth with water and floated the peanut to the top. The mental processes involved to reach this conclusion baffled me. Also, apes tend to cooperate with humans if they understand what the goal is. Although the animals can imitate, they can’t teach or build on achievements others have made- unlike more successful humans.