22 May 2023

Videos of the day -- cousins and children

The first video below is of a baby gorilla; the second is of a mother chimpanzee being reunited with her baby after a brief separation; the last one shows you what a baby chimpanzee looks like:

If you can see past the differences in appearance (and these creatures are actually very anatomically similar to humans), the similarities of their behavior to ours are remarkable.  I was particularly struck by how the baby gorilla moves and behaves like a human baby.

The five "great ape" species -- the orangutans, gorillas, bonobos, chimpanzees, and humans (yes, humans are now classified as a great ape species, and rightly so) -- form a very closely-related group.  The orangutan is the least closely related to us among them, yet the genetic difference between a human and an orangutan is only half as large as that between an Indian elephant and an African elephant.  The other great apes have the same blood types as we do (A, B, O, etc), and in chimpanzees and bonobos the hemoglobin molecule is identical; you could safely receive a blood transfusion from one of them, if it had a compatible blood type.  Such ape-human similarities exist throughout the whole biological system.  They are highly intelligent, and human researchers who work with them learn to stay alert at all times, since they often become skilled at tricking and deceiving humans, and at figuring out how to escape from what seem to be secure facilities.

The next time you see an ape in a zoo, consider -- that ape is more closely related to you than it is to any other animal in the zoo.

It's not really accurate to think of the other four great ape species as "animals" in the way we normally use the term.  They are best viewed as surviving forms of primitive man.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Backwards, Human baby acting like a gorilla baby, my opinion.

22 May, 2023 06:33  
Anonymous spirilis said...

Evolution ends at conception. From there on it's all transformation. Humans sit at the top of the ladder because they built the ladder. It is worthwhile to ponder D. Adams conjecture that humans are the third most intelligent creature on the planet. Imagine the psychic injury from being tricked by a "monkey".

22 May, 2023 07:22  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Anon: Well, if you want to be technical, since humans and gorillas have a common ancestor, similar behavior in both is "acting like" the common ancestor.

Spirilis: I remember Douglas Adams. Funny guy.

22 May, 2023 08:07  
Blogger Sandee said...

Awww, adorable and we are most like them. Beautiful.

Thank you for joining the Awww Mondays Blog Hop.

Have a fabulous Awww Monday and week. ♥

22 May, 2023 09:09  
Blogger NickM said...

"They are best viewed as surviving forms of primitive man".

No they aren't. They are very closely related (but then so is pretty much everything but then we share 60% of our DNA with a banana). Humans and great apes share a common ancestor.

Yes, they are much like us. Sometimes disturbingly so. Chimps form gangs and fight wars. Even capuchins can use money.


And they ain't even apes. So what would happen if we tried that again with gorillas... They'd invent fractional reserve banking!

There is, just recently, a staggering amount of research as to how smart many animals are. Cephlapods and birds have been massively up-rated. Why? Partially from observation of their behaviour (and I'll back an octopus over a orangutan any day for escapology) and also because brain size is not seen as so important anymore. So older clades are recognised as being smart not so much because of having big brains but brains that have been crafted by more evolution. Think like a modern computer versus an old mainframe from Bond movies.

22 May, 2023 09:59  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

Wonderful videos.

I've always been fascinated with chimpanzees and bonobos: Pan troglodyte and Pan paniscus, respectively. Pan troglodyte is more aggressive and less willing to share when food is found; Pan paniscus is the "kinder" and less war-like chimpanzee whose leaders are the alpha females, not males, and a male's position in a Pan paniscus group depends on who your mother is. The more I read about them, the more I understand how we share traits from both Pan troglodyte and Pan paniscus. But I think we tend to share more from Pan troglodyte.

22 May, 2023 11:02  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Sandee: Glad you like them!

NickM: Humans and great apes share a common ancestor

Sigh. Again, obviously I know that. I was speaking somewhat metaphorically. They're so closely related that they practically qualify as human.

Shaw: They are fascinating creatures. Chimpanzee and bonobos are very closely related to each other -- the split between our ancestors and the chimp-bonobo common ancestor happened six million years ago, then that common ancestor split into chimps and bonobos three million years ago. Bonobos are extremely unusual in their social organization and behavior, though -- as far as I know they're pretty much unique not just among apes but among primates generally. Human and chimpanzee behavior has a lot more obvious similarities. So it seems most likely that the unusual bonobo traits developed after they split from the chimpanzees, meaning long after our own ancestors split off from the common ancestor.

Bonobos are seriously endangered, unfortunately. There are only a few thousand left. We should be trying to encourage them to reproduce in zoos, but I don't think the total number in captivity is enough to maintain healthy genetic diversity.

22 May, 2023 19:19  
Blogger NickM said...

I seriously didn't realise you were being metaphorical. That is possibly my fault because whilst apes are probs about the smartest critters they aren't human. They perhaps get over-rated because other very smart animals- octopus, dolphins, birds, pigs don't look anything like us whereas the apes do. Of course it doesn't help that of the animals I listed only pigs are also essentially terrestrial. An octopus wouldn't even think of bringing fire into the cave because it's under water.

23 May, 2023 03:17  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

OK. Notice that the post is about ape-human similarities, of which intelligence is only one aspect -- not about animal intelligence generally. The remarkable similarities among the great ape species have long struck me, and these videos seemed to bring it out especially well.

23 May, 2023 06:10  
Blogger NickM said...

I guess I didn't get your point and that is really my bad. Sorry. Intelligence is a very tricksy thing. To the extent that the rise of AI only befuddles i as an ideat. Personally, I don't think "general intelligence" is a useful concept. Perhaps that is because I once dated a woman who was utterly brilliant at maths but terrible at physics.

23 May, 2023 09:51  
Blogger Mary Kirkland said...

They are jus too cute but most baby animals are.

24 May, 2023 14:11  

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