Orangutans: As Humans as You or Me?

From BBC’s Orangutans as Humans as You or Me?

This is a clip from the Life of Mammals (Food for Thought). On one hand, I think it’s fascinating–orangutans are amazing at picking things up just from observing humans! However, all of these behaviors are a result of living in captivity among humans. As Attenborough points out, the orangutans spontaneously engaged in these behaviors–they weren’t trained to do so. However, they nonetheless are engaging in these human-like behaviors because they’ve spent so much time around and observing humans.



About Dr. Michelle A. Rodrigues

I am a primatologist/biological anthropologist who studies comparative social behavior and endocrinology. My dissertation research focused on stress and friendship in female spider monkeys. Most of my graduate research was conducted at El Zota Biological Field Station, with a little help from the spider monkeys at Brookfield Zoo, IL. I have also studied howler monkeys, rhesus monkeys, bonobos, and chimpanzees, as well as participated in studies on gorillas, pachyderms, and big cats. Currently, I am a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Illinois, where I am examining how female friendship and social support mediate stressors experienced by teenager girls and female scientists. I've taught courses in introductory biological anthropology, world prehistory, and co-instructed a field course in primate behavior and conservation at El Zota. I love teaching about primates and evolution!
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