Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
January 3rd, 2010
Program Two: So Human, So Chimp
Video Excerpt: Monkey Business

Alan Alda visits Yale University’s Laurie Santos at a small Caribbean island where she is studying rhesus monkeys’ ability to steal grapes…and read minds.

“So Human, So Chimp” premieres January 13 on PBS.

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.
  • Sue Strong

    It’s not just logic working here. Besides the fact that stealing from someone who isn’t looking makes sense, the monkey also views a direct gaze from an another monkey, or a person, as being threatening. Eyes & teeth are threatening to a monkey. Don’t stare, don’t smile, don’t laugh. In monkey terminology, all these actions are signs of aggression.

  • Kay

    While I enjoyed the show, I’m not quite convinced that scientists have all the right answers. I have many questions. Consider this: If we believe the Bible…Babylon, Iraq was the Garden of Eden where life of Adam and Eve began. They first had two sons, Able and Cain. After Cain killed Able….he left Eden and found a wife. ?? There were no other women!! Where did he find a wife?? Yes. If he left Eden traveled to Africa and mated with a tribe of apes thus giving them our human DNA.
    Adam and Eve had many children…and for too many years they interbred until they branched out into the Middle East and into Europe and China. Thousands of years of selective breeding and enviornment determined size, looks and character. Tribes stayed togetherand overtime one could tell from what tribe a person came from by the looks of their eyes, bridge of nose, and height. Cain…bred with is tribe for years. Apes have more of a sexual drive, and shorter gestation period than humans….so reproduce faster. Intelligence shows us how creative the Europeans were. They were building Empires….while Africa was still in the same stone age. Why?

  • Kay

    Before anyone gets excited.. let me state… We are all a mix of every race….because there have always been fence jumpers and slipping around since the begining of time. Very few are pure bred over 100,000,000 years.

  • Duke

    Obviously Kay does not know her history. Egypt is in Africa and the Egyptian Pyramids are an engineering wonder. What were the Europeans doing this period? Not anything compared to this. And to imply that the Europeans conceived all the ideas in isolation is nonsense. Each generation built on what others had done in the known worlds.

  • Maxine

    This type of programming is excellent. It is interesting, informative, and educative. Let’s stick to science and try to get as close to the truth as possible. We should focus on factual information and not disrespect one another by trying to claim credit for any one particular race’s accomplishments. Actually, the word “race” has to be redefined since the human race is a blend of many people from different regions of the world. DNA has proven that individuals have many different regional layers due to our ancestral migrations. This type of informational programming is meant to enhance our knowledge and join people together, not divide them.

  • Kay

    Duke…I did say that Adam and Eve’s children spread out into other parts surrounding Iraq.
    Yes, definately they taught each other and shared knowledge. This took hundreds of thousands of years!

  • kay

    Maxine…I am also facinated by the human roots. But…you must look up ‘HUMAN HYBRIDS’ There has been much breeding among humans and apes. That is known fact. I’m not trying to divide anyone, only trying to solve some unanswered questions. We may not like what has happened in the human race….but we cannot ignore it, any more than we can ignore unpleasant family issues.

  • Maxine

    Kay, I did not mean to imply that you, in particular, were dividing anyone. I was directing my comments to other replies from a general perspective.

  • Jones

    Obviously, the above bible story is wrong somewhere. They couldn’t have been the only people, because they would die out, due to lack of genetic diversity. Also, this does little to explain relative ancestor races, such as Neanderthals and Australopithecines. Also, it never says that the Garden Of Eden was anywhere near Babylon. Lets not try to use both the bible and science, because not only is that ridiculously Christian-biased (there are plenty of other creation stories that are just as plausible), but they won’t line up. If you want to keep on everyone’s good side, just say that God started the Evolutionary process (this would be back in the primordial stew) then sat back to enjoy the show. Trying to make out that Adam and Eve were some kind of pre-hominid is ridiculous, and it won’t work.


    The less resistance to the reward of the not seeing eyes. Weighing risk for reward. The non looker pose little resistance, where as the person facing the monkey offer the rseistance by the oberservation of the reward.

  • kent

    Kay, Stop pretending to be thinking scientifically and go back to Sunday school

Inside This Episode

Produced by THIRTEEN    ©2014 Educational Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.