Discovery's Life Profiles Primates in New Episode

snow monkey photo

photo: Stefan Powell via flickr.

The second of this Sunday's episodes of Life over on the Discovery Channel (9pm ET) focuses on primates: Baboons in Ethiopia, Japanese macaques (you know, snow monkeys), leaf monkeys with bright orange babies, and lemurs are all covered.

Our closest relatives are surely fascinating, but unfortunately we don't always play so well with them:

hanuman langur photo

photo: Matthew McDermott
Will Human Beings Save Their Primate Cousins?
There are currently about 6.8 billion humans on the planet, but 48% of all other primates are facing extinction. Topping the list are the less than 300 Cross River Gorillas of Nigeria, the less than 100 Sportive Lemurs in Madagascar, and the less than 70 Golden-Headed Langurs in Vietnam. A crucial question in the open part of the 21st century is will we curtail our own lives so our cousins can live theirs?

25 Most Endangered Primates Could Fit in Single Football Stadium
The headline says it all. Take the entire populations of the 25 most endangered primate species and they would fit into a single stadium.

Orangutan Could Be First Great Ape to Become Extinct
There are more endangered primates out there, but the orangutan has become symbolic for the direct impact human activities have on killing off apes. The prime culprit is expansion of palm oil plantations and deforestation in general throughout Indonesia and Malaysia. In some parts of Borneo orangutan populations have dropped 90% in the past five years.

chimpanzee photo

photo: Bruce McAdam via flickr.
Chimpanzees Even Smarter Than We Thought - Can Mentally Measure Pouring Liquid's Volume
Researchers at Georgia State University have determined that chimps have a basic grasp of the physics of liquid. In one experiment chimps were presented with two cups, one clear and one opaque. Fruit juice was poured from a syringe into each, in varying amounts as the chimps watched. The chimps chose the larger quantity to drink more than three-quarters of the time.

Great Apes Granted 'Human Rights' by Spanish Parliament
Back in 2008, the Spanish Parliament passed a resolution saying "non-human hominids" the right to life, freedom and not to be tortured. Probably quite a bit ahead of the general perception on the matter, but a momentous occasion nevertheless.

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More on Life:
Vast Variety of Insects is Inspiration for Upcoming Episode of "Life"
Life as You've Never Seen It on Planet Green
Creatures of the Deep a Focus for Upcoming Life Episode

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