NOVA: Ape Genius

NOVA: Ape Genius

Jul 03

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Watch the full episode. See more NOVA.

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APE GENIUS
NOVA
First broadcast in February, 2008
Winner of the 2009 George Foster Peabody Award

Original Link

At a research site in Fongoli, Senegal, a female chimpanzee breaks off a branch, chews the end to make it sharp, and then uses this rudimentary spear to skewer a tasty bush baby hiding inside a hollow tree. It’s an astonishing breakthrough for primate researchers — the first time anyone has documented a chimpanzee wielding a carefully prepared, preplanned weapon. But it’s only the latest in a slew of extraordinary new findings about ape behavior.

The more researchers learn about the great apes — chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans — the more evidence they find of creative intelligence. What, then, is the essential difference between them and us? “Ape Genius,” a NOVA-National Geographic special, explores that provocative question and examines research that is illuminating the ape mind. Bit by bit, investigators are finding an explanation for why the non-human great apes never made the breakthrough into a human-style culture that builds on the achievements of previous generations.

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