The animal that most resembles us is the ape. At the zoo, it is easy to observe behavioral and facial expressions in monkeys and apes that are very much similar to our own. A group of apes could very well seem like a family. A mother taking care of her young may seem familiar to the human onlooker. This is because the ape is our closest living relative. In the documentary Primate Behavior, anthropologists observe the behavior of monkeys and primates. The primates are mostly observed in the wild, as they are better understood while placed in a natural setting. This is where the social structure of the primate can really be interpreted.
Mainly, this documentary uses the primate’s behavior as a comparison to our own. The purpose of this is to better understand not only the evolution of the human body, but also the evolution of human behavior. The film explains that our behavior was affected by the environmental pressures of our past. Because primates share a common ancestor with us, observing them in the wild can help us better understand why and how we evolved certain traits. The film stresses how important it is that we must observe apes in a natural setting. The narrator explains, “If we are interested in evolution of human behavior, and in the evolution of behavior in general, you really need to see that in a natural setting where evolution pressures are at work today and where you might be able to imagine the kind of evolutionary pressure that would’ve worked in the past.” The intention of this film is to instruct the viewer on the evolutionary connection between the ape and us. Understand primate behavior can lead to clues of our own evolutionary descent.
The author wants us to agree that we have “more in common with our primate cousins than we do with any other animal”. He can only do this by showing us a lot of visuals that dynamically compare us two. We are shown many species of both monkeys and apes, and even that of a few...
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