Can the secrets of our past be found in the jungle? And what can it tell us about our future?
Accompany researchers in NATURE’s Deep Jungle: The Beast Within as they explore tropical forests for clues about the origins of humans and what our own future might hold.
In a bid to understand the genesis of human aggression, primatologist David Watts travels to Uganda’s Kibale National Park to study chimpanzees. In the past, researchers had witnessed these primates hunting, killing, and eating colobus monkeys. Watts, however, made a chilling new discovery that these primates also hunted and murdered their own kind. The theory under investigation is that violence may help chimp groups cement social ties.
In Brazil, clever capuchin monkeys use heavy rocks to crack open nuts for food. “Deep Jungle: The Beast Within” marks the first time the behavior has been captured on film. Tool use, which was previously thought to be a skill only of primates — humans and chimps — reminds us that human abilities arose long before the evolution of our species.
In Central America and Cambodia, archaeologists ponder the ruined remains of ancient cities that once flourished in the jungle. What might have happened to these lost civilizations? And can modern cities avoid the fate that befell those that came before?
In the Central African Republic, primatologist Chloe Cipolletta enlists the help of the BaAka people in her effort to preserve the jungle’s future. The BaAka have lived in the forest for generations, and are experts at tracking the elusive western lowland gorilla. Together, Chloe and the BaAka are gaining the gorilla’s trust and in return, the BaAka are learning to see the gorillas as more than a threat.
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Online content for Deep Jungle was originally posted in May 2005.