Monday, March 14, 2011

Monkey See, Monkey Do

The documentary film "Animals Are Beautiful People", has one clip which has just plain dumbfounded me since I saw it many years ago. It is a toast to the superb ingenuity of man; it is a testament to our brain, plain and simple, forever sealing all arguments about whether animals are as intelligent as men!

For an African Bushman, survival depends on, among other things, accessibility to water. One trick the Bushman employs is to find a termite mound and slowly begin to dig a narrow hole into its core, with a stick. He then hollows out a small chamber at the end, but larger than the diameter of the hole.

A monkey, being creature of curiosity, is attracted to the goings-on, and begins to watch. The man, makes sure the monkey sees every move. He then takes some fruit seeds from his pouch, pushes them through the hole in the mound, depositing them just inside the hollow he has dug, and retreats a short distance to wait.

The monkey, mad with curiosity approaches the mound and sticks his arm into the narrow opening, grabbing a fistful of seeds from the hollow inside. But when he tries to pull his arm out of the hole, he can't! The fistful of seeds is to large to now slip through the hole, and he is stuck. All he really has to do is to let go of the seeds and his arm will easily slide out of the mound, but his greed, and stupidity prevents him from doing so.

At this point, the man quickly pounces on the monkey, subdues him, slips a length of rope around his neck, and ties him to a nearby tree. He then reaches into a pouch, pulls out some rocks of salt which he has brought along just for this occasion, and scatters them around on the ground within the monkey's reach.

The monkey just cannot resist one of his favorite treats! He leaps on the salt and begins to eat it. Time passes and the monkey begins to tire. It is hot and he is getting mighty thirsty. But the Bushman bides his time until he  deems the monkey is mad with thirst.

At the precise moment, he cuts the monkey loose, and the monkey makes a bee line, right into an underground cave he knows contains the water, with the Bushman hot on his heels!

In the end, the two drink side by side, monkey and man, and the monkey does not even care.

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