Do animals have culture? The orangutans of Sumatra certainly
do. They've learned how to fish honey out of tiny termite nests, and to
scoop the pulpy food out of razor-sharp fruits. What's more, they've passed
on this knowledge to their offspring. Now, scientists think these primates
may offer insights into our own cultural evolution. In this hour of
To the Best of Our Knowledge, what the other primates reveal about
ourselves. And, what really happened to the Neanderthals.
Carel Van Schaik is an anthropologist
at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. His book is called "Among
Orangutans." He tells Steve Paulson that these great red apes use
tools and pass learning down from one generation to the next. And that
captive apes can learn all sorts of skills that are useless in the wild.
Also, Birute Galdikas talks about her almost other-worldly experience
of living with orangutans in Borneo. Galdikas was the first person to
do a long-term field study of the apes in Borneo and is now with the
Orangutan Foundation International.
Merian C. Cooper dreamed
up the original "King Kong." Cooper was an Indiana Jones -
type figure himself. Now Mark Cotta Vaz has written his biography.
It's called "Living Dangerously." Vaz talks with Anne Strainchamps
about Cooper and the making of the original "King Kong" and,
of course we hear clips.
Frans de Waal is a primatologist
at the Yerkes Primate Center in Atlanta. His latest book is "Our
Inner Ape." He talks with Jim Fleming about chimps, who can be
aggressive and violent, and bonobos, who are mama's boys and like sex.
He says human beings are closely related to both species and our psychology
is molded by the same factors as theirs. Also, Erik Trinkaus is
an anthropologist at Washington University in St. Louis and one of the
world's leading scholars on Neandertals. He tells Steve Paulson that
many of our assumptions about them, and our other "cave man"
ancestors are just plain wrong. Neandertals were successful for a very
long time, and just a behaviorally simpler version of later people.
CD copies are available at 1-800-747-7444.
Ask for program number 06-01-15-A.
- Frans De Waal,
Our Inner Ape: A Leading Primatologist Explains Why We are, Who We Are
- Carel Van Schaik (with photos
by Perry Van Duijnhoven), Among Orangutans: Red Apes and the Rise
of Human Culture (Belknap/Harvard)
- Mark Cotta Vaz, Living
Dangerously: The Adventures of Merian C. Cooper, Creator of King Kong
- In Birute Galdikas:
Medwyn Goodall w/ "Medicine Woman II: The Gift"
New World Music
- After Frans De Waal:
Oumou Sangare w/ "Dugu Kamalemba"
- After Erik Trinkaus:
Martin Denny w/ "Swamp Fire"
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