Clever Monkeys
Did you watch "Clever Monkeys"? Tell us what you think!


Golden monkey of China
© Giles Badger

Did you watch the premiere of Clever Monkeys last night? Share your comments and favorite moments with other NATURE fans using the comment form below.

Do you have a favorite monkey from the show?

Surprised by something you learned?

Clever Monkeys premiered Sunday, November 9 at 8pm (check local listings).

Don’t miss another new episode of NATURE, American Eagle, coming this weekend — Sunday, November 16.

  • Shirley McGreal

    Congratulations to the team who made this wonderful program. There are so many programs about chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans, but so little is known about monkeys. The intelligence of the capuchins and their use of tools is not widely known. I found this segment fascinating.

    The huge troop size (up to 800) of the faraway gelada baboons of the Simien Mountains of Ethiopia was well explained.

    As for favorite monkeys, all were incredible. The douc langurs and red colobus were utterly beautiful and the family life of the marmosets, with two father-figures caring for twins while the mom sucked sap from trees was a delight to see!

    Try to catch a replay this program if you missed it or get the DVD which costs less than $20.

  • Laura T

    A most informative monkey show. Loved it from start to finish. This was far from the usual script. Thank you PBS!!!

  • liz maxwell, nana of 6

    Amazing and beautiful program! Can’t wait to buy the video for all my Grandkids. Thank you for presenting monkeys in such an incredible and respectful way.

  • Martha Austen

    What incredible camera work! From beginning to end!

    The segment on colobus monkey was absolutely priceless. I don’t remember the last time I laughed so hard at anything I’ve watched on television. Want proof that monkeys and humans are related? Just watch the posture and expressions of a black-and-white colobus monkey as it digests its cyanide-laced meal. I was howling! Pun intended.

    Such a beautiful program!

  • Mary Root

    What an INCREDIBLE show! It made me more humbler than ever!

  • linda beresford

    I’m a Nature series junkie. This is the most fascinating show yet! Who knew? Definitely “Required Viewing” category. Thank you.

  • Robert Brill

    The segment on “language” among eight different species — each learning the others’ alarm calls for “snake,” “leopard,” etc. — left me stunned. And, I admit, a bit ashamed of what humans have done to such wonderful and intelligent creatures.

  • Bonita Eiden

    Incredible! Funny! Like looking into our own faces. Did anyone else recognize people they know in these beautiful, sometimes scary and a few times ugly monkey faces?

  • Margaret

    I sat there with my mouth open! I thought apes were smart, but I had no idea monkeys were that clever I remember saying over 40 years ago that we were a more involved animal, and the reception I received!!!! Total horror that I should think it let alone say it. My favorite monkey was the one that harvested the seed, let it dry, then pounded it open over several days. Oh yes, and 8 different “languages” between 8 species and they all understood each other. I have always thought that “man” underestimated animals but this was far more than I would have believed. It was a wonderful program. Thank you.

  • EKO

    This is an extremely well-done film. Five stars all the way around! Thank you for such a fine, informative, fascinating and needed film. I would like to share it with everyone I know.

  • Sophie

    Monkeys are NOT related to humans,people! God created man in his own image and Adam named ALL the animals. Not one, not five, but ALL animals. And he didn’t name the monkey because we were ‘related’ to it, because, we’re not! People need to learn that God knew what he was doing. Yes, monkeys can flirt, be angry, and they can agree. But, all animals can do that too! Ya listening, everyone? People did NOT evolve from an animal! I’m sorry, but, it’s the truth. And everyone needs to know it is.

  • Sophie

    okay, I’m so sorry that there were so many exclamation points in my last message. i got a little overwhelmed that people believed monkeys are related to humans. Thank you, Pbs for teaching people about these creatures and how they live. And thank the Lord for creating everyone. No matter what they are.

  • rachel

    Thank you PBS for always staying true to science. What a beautiful show highlighting how all primates are so alike! I had no idea some monkeys have grammatical rules!! How anyone could deny our relationship with these creatures is beyond me.

  • Allen

    This episode was the best “Nature” I’ve seen in a while!

  • Franni

    It was fascinating and well worth the time spent watching it. Loved it!

  • Trevor Dickson

    I seen a lot of nature shows in my day. This one topped them ALL! Educational, strange, funny, exciting! It’s important to know about our long lost cousins.

    Cheers! Excellent program. Looking forward to more!

  • Salvatore

    I was astonished and amazed by some of the things that I saw in this program, including:

    1. The intelligence of monkeys
    2. Their capacity for learning–including learning a procedure to open nuts involving a series of steps over a period of days
    3. Their use of language
    4. Their use of tools
    5. The use of a medicinal herb by at least one species, which uses it topically
    6. Similarities between their behavior and ours
    7. The courage, ferocity, and lethality of baboons (if I am not mistaken, it was a leopard that one of them was shown chasing away)

    I cannot say I have a favorite monkey–at least in part because I don’t remember the names of most of the ones that were shown.

    I also found the camera work amazing–something that I think may be typical of *NATURE*. I think the script may be superior to all of the ones that I heard in the previous season (I didn’t hear them all).

  • Roo

    That was spectacular television even by PBS standards. Thank you.

  • Gretchen

    Wonderful! I was particularly glad to get more information along with gorgeous images. I would really like to see an entire show just on what we have learned about their use of language. The brief segment about 8 species with different calls being able to communicate, and the mention that they have a clear sense of syntax left me wanting much more! Thank you! And now, more please!!

  • Eva

    This was an amazing program and was a much needed showcase for the monkeys of the world. I hope this program is televised in the countries in which the monkeys were filmed and that this will inspire and advocate new and ongoing conservation efforts.

    Thank you PBS!! Simply brilliant!

  • Pepper

    Wow, such an impressive piece. I learned so much about other species living on our “shared” planet. Your program’s insights pull me out of my own world into a new one, and ultimately helped me form a new connection to some wonderous beings. Thank you all!

  • Jim

    Well even for an old anthropologist this program was an eye opener…. the parallels in these monkeys behaviors goes far beyond any previous evidence I have seen, and just shows how similar their minds and abilities are to the rest of us primates…. evolved or created take your pick, either way the roots are there….. our ancestors certainly not, but our kin no doubt, and certainly deserved of their place in this environment.
    Excellent programming with immeasurable significance….. world class!!!

  • Terry Phipps Lane & Reid Mullen

    My boyfriend and I watched this program and we thoroughly enjoyed it. We were both completely shocked when the monkey pushed the rocks off of the side of the cliff. I’m an anthropology student, and I’m madly in love with primates. My boyfreind knows that the only guy who can woo me away from him is our handsome silverback at the Pittsburgh Zoo. Your program was, as all your programs are, top notch in every way. Thank you so much!

  • Dr. Nick Campos

    Incredible, fascinating, insightful! A true masterpiece.

  • Lauren

    My fiance is a 9th grade science teacher and just bought the video to show to his classes!

  • Diana Schoelzel

    Amazing and beautiful! my heart goes out to the millions of clever monkeys stuck in a cold metal cage with only neon lights to confort their horrible fates. Please buy products NOT TESTED on animals. For a complete list go to
    Thank you on behalf of the animals you will spare by not buying products cruelly tested on them. Diana S

  • michael harrison


  • Leonard Blank

    Loved the show. Recorded it and watched it 3 times once on my own once with my wife and once with my grown daughter. Wonderful analogies to us humans.

    Much of philosophy has to be reconsidered in light of these monkey facts on the ground.

  • Marcel

    Probably the most interesting Nature show EVER.

    Another layer of human supremacism bites the dust.

  • deborah barnes

    What was the species that died from its own kind more than anything else? If anyone recalls please post it here.
    Appears that many problems we are facing as a human species arise because we are still following the monkey king and not listening to “ourselves.” The intuitive mind has been enslaved by the logical mind (even Einstein saw this)and the material world and man made constructs distract us from our “knowing” thus we are still monkeying around and with 2012 so close its wakey shakey time! paradigm shift or devolution days.

  • hannah

    I caught this show on accident and watched it all the way through to the end! Completely captivating and totally interesting! I loved it! :)

  • Odie D

    They look like the family of a guy I used to date

  • Wanna be ecologist

    Absolutely facinating documentary! I learned alot about the communities and will pass the explanation of these amazing creatures along to my class! Thank You

  • Gary

    Loved it!
    I especially was interested in the language aspect, monkey species of which I was unaware and the action video of the monkeys.

  • Dana

    What a wonderful film about monkeys. Some funny moments and some sad. Their personalities and habits were captured beautifully.

  • phillip gaylord

    All should be made to watch the truth about those of us, meaning all animals, living on this planet. This world that we share and how selfish we humans have really been, exposed in a Nature film. Thank you producers for showing us something that we know in the backs of our minds. If there is a creator, she got it spot on with those monkeys.

  • b

    Absolutely outstanding! PBS and Nature you have done it again. I learned more about humans from this show than any of the books I have read. An absolutely fantastic show.


  • Mom of two girls

    wonderful show just wonderful

  • margieB

    I loved it. a beautiful, fascinating program.
    had some good laughs at their antics–I especially liked the party of capuchins rubbing with the piper plants; hilarious. It is true; we see ourselves in their faces. (science already proved our DNA’s are very similar).
    Pbs progams never disappoint me. they are the most fascinating, intelligent shows I can find on TV.
    thanks for all the great and enlightening entertainment, pbs!
    (hilarious comment, Odie D).

  • N. L. Russell

    Absolutely fascinating. So, how do you buy the DVD mentioned in above comments?

  • humanbean

    I think that “Nature” is to date the most spectacular and important wildlife program ever created. I’m enthralled by every new episode But this program in particular made me feel excited and I realized how far we’ve come and how far we have to grow. Thank you for giving us this connection to our past and present!!! Much gratitude, thank you again.

  • Jenny

    Loved it! I’m a historian, fascinated and inspired by evolutionary sources, and was delighted to see how similar we are to monkeys (and, from other NATURE programs, to so many other animals as well). We all deserve to survive and thrive.

  • LISA

    This is an amazing show! It was very interesting to see how close they are in relation to humans. I could really relate to a lot of things that were going on. When is it airing again?

  • Jessica

    The most interesting and entertaining nature program I have ever seen. I absolutely loved every minute. Make more programming like this. Seeing what can only be described as higher emotions play across those monkeys faces was astounding.

  • Bonnie

    Its such an amazing show, av watched it twice and still cant resist the urge to watch it one more time. excellent work!!!!

  • Al Kuelling

    Humans and monkeys have evolved from a common ancestor long ago, not from each other as stated in the wonderfully done program “Clever Monkeys.” The National Academy of Sciences’ book “Science, Evolution, and Creationism” has a genealogy tree on page 8 showing this relationship – humans and monkeys are distant cousins.

  • Andrea

    I happened upon the show right at the intro, and immediately called my two teenagers to come in and watch it with me. We laughed and marveled throughout the show, from the first scene of the thieving monkeys running away with cakes and fruit (which is some of the best comedy I’ve seen on TV in a long time) to the incredibly touching scenes of the monkeys tending with such concern and tenderness to each other’s wounds and their mourning over the loss of the leader or one of the young. Just stellar tv. I feel so fortunate to be able to see with such clarity a world of life so far away. We also felt lucky to have experienced the monkeys of Costa Rica a few years back. Woke up to howlers every morning, and loved seeing the spiders and carablancas over head throughout the day at our treehouse hotel in the jungle (Black Turtle Lodge). At a nearby rescue camp, I got to hold a crippled spider monkey named Lulu, and she was “kissing” me to taste the remains of the corn chips I had been eating, an amazing experience of my life. Thank you and keep up the thrilling work. More monkeys please!

  • Pamela

    Thoroughly enjoyed watching God’s beautiful creations. What a sense of humor He has!!

  • jam

    Breathtaking photography! An incredible amount of information on our relatives. One of the most astonishing shows every. I envy the photographic and research teams. The segment on language was mind-boggling. These animals deserve and need to be protected. This program deserves the highest award available.

  • Tim

    What a wonderful program! Seems the line between humans and some other animals is not so distinct. Thank you, “Nature” and PBS, for helping us appreciate the awesome world around us!

  • Hadassah Broscova

    Clever Monkeys was an exquisite production featuring new information never before published. It was brilliant and really brought one to think about who may be the real “intelligent” species on the planet. The battle scenes were a little disturbing, but again, really outlined and highlighted the similarities between ourselves and our clever cousins. Language in particular was amazing. Well Done, PBS! A homerun. So sorry for the beheaded of your much needed governmental funding! When will the gov. realize the importance of the Arts? *Sigh*
    Hadassah Broscova,
    Carpe Articulum LIterary Review, Int’l

  • Joan Dragolic

    I happened upon this by chance and I’m so happy I watched it. I learned a lot I never knew about monkeys, particularly their language and how they seem to be bilingual. We need this type of programming desperately. When one thinks of what is offered on most other channels, it makes you wonder who really “evolved”.
    I hope the government realizes this as they plan their budgets.
    Keep up the good work, which I know you will.

  • Mary McCord

    It was a fantastic show!! Those faces are too adorable!! I had to come on here to see if I could watch it again!!
    “Nature” is a fantastic program!! Keep up the good work!!

  • Jeff

    Just wanted to leave a response cause you guys wanted feedback, I would like to say I am shocked that you can post a video based on complete theory and teach it to people as fact. I could not even get a few seconds in to get an earful of nothing but a completely false story of our history. Not only does everyone know its a lie, it was only a made up theory, so then, what could someone benefit from watching that? The answer is nothing….. It is a well put together piece, just not honest.

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  • Teneisha

    We watched “Clever Monkeys” in my Primatology class recently and I want to watch it again and again on my own time! Many moments of laughter, and so much knowledge gained. I, personally, particularly love it when I see other species doing something that humans thought made them unique, and there were several examples in this episode of NATURE. What an incredible series. Thank you so much for making it easily accessible, PBS!

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