What Separates Us From Chimpanzees Essay

1118 words - 4 pages

Matthew BabelaProfessor Bruce RoweAnthropology 10127 February 2014What Separates us from ChimpanzeesIn this TED talk, Jane Goodall sheds light on what separates us from apes but also what is similar about humans and apes; she is using these as examples of why we should learn from apes and the way they are. Jane Goodall is an outstanding speaker, you could definitely tell that she is talking about something she is passionate about, rather than just something she has a lot of knowledge of, even if you knew nothing about Jane Goodall (if you did, you would know that she is absolutely passionate about apes). She starts off by saying how she is happy to be doing this talk and then gets right into what she was doing in the rainforests in Ecuador with indigenous people who are trying to keep oil companies and roads from coming into the rainforests, which foreshadows what she is going to talk about later on in her speech. She then says, "Too often we just see a few slides, or a bit of film, but these beings have voices that mean something. And so, I want to give you a greeting, as from a chimpanzee in the forests of Tanzania -- Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh!"(Goodall 3:17). I thought that was very engaging, because I always find it interesting when people talk about the way animals communicate with each other. They are languages that humans will never be able to speak or at least fully speak or understand. She then states that she has been studying chimpanzees since the 1960's and that since then there have been modern technologies that have transformed how field biologists do their work and there are things that they can finally do for the first time.Jane talks about a chimpanzee named Ai in Japan who she thinks is the most skilled chimpanzee in captivity. Ai will actually go and sit down at her computer and play a video game, and do it faster than most humans and then she will concentrate for 20 minutes or so and even retry if she is not satisfied with her score in the game, because she doesn't like making mistakes. I thought that was fascinating. She then compares this to her first discovery, which was the first discovery of apes using tools, when she saw an ape in the jungle using a stick as a tool to get the termites out of a termite mound, and here she is today seeing chimps use computers and even learn human sign language. She then says, "When I was at school, we were defined as man, the tool-maker. So that when Louis Leakey, my mentor, heard this news, he said, 'Ah, we must now redefine man, redefine tool, or accept chimpanzees as humans.' We now know that at Gombealone, there are nine different ways in which chimpanzees use different objects for different purposes. Moreover, we know that in different parts of Africa, wherever chimps have been studied, there are completely different tool-using behaviors. And because it seems that these patterns are passed from one generation to the next, through...

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