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Ape Genius

Ape Genius

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Item Number:
54 min.
Closed Caption:
WGBH Boston Video
Grade Level:
9 - 12
It's easy to feel empathy for the great apes: chimps, bonobos, orangutans, and gorillas. They are our nearest relatives in the animal world. For decades we've known that some of them can use simple tools and even be trained to communicate with us in sign language. They have some of the largest brains in proportion to body size of any animals, but just how smart are these animals? In co-production with National Geographic, NOVA explores the secret mental lives of apes and the crucial gap between ape intellects and our own. Every time we've defined a mental ability that we think is uniquely human—everything from culture to simple math—the great apes have it too. But now scientists are zeroing in on tantalizing hints of what that essential difference may be. Besides its hugely entertaining sequences of chimps staging pool parties and working vending machines, Ape Genius reveals a new and deeper understanding of our profound kinship with our primate relatives and exactly what it means to be human. Special DVD features include: materials and activities for educators; a link to the NOVA Web site; scene selections; closed captions; and described video for the visually impaired.

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