Friday, 26 September 2014

The Brains of The Great Apes

Mother Chimp showing infant how to break open nuts

The BBC Iplayer is currently showing a program on the brains of the great apes.The summary says "Chris Packham explores the evolution of the great ape's brain to reveal how different parts have been adapted over time by its anatomy, ingenuity and sociability." In practice it says little about the brain except to say that different aspects, such as the development of the hand, has meant that there has been enlargement of the relevant areas of the brain. However there are some excellent wild like photographs illustrating the advanced features of ape behaviours, and I fouind the discussion about the differences between Bono-boos and Chimpanzees particularly interesting. The section on chimpanzees "teaching" their young to crack open nuts showed, in my opinion, how inefficient the chimp teaching techniques are - as it takes 10 years for the young chimp to develop the skill by simply copying the mother.

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