BBC Life On Earth Disc 4: A Life in the Trees (1979)

Some mammals took to climbing trees. To do that, they needed hands that could grasp and eyes that both looked forward to help in the judging of distance. The first to do so were creatures very like the bush-babies and lemurs of today. As time passed monkeys appeared. One group of their descendants became rather bigger and lost their tails. Their descendants included chimpanzees, gorillas - and ourselves.
Peter's DVD rating: 4.5 stars
David Attenborough traces the evolution of primates. He seems to focus on the primates' agility in the trees, though other animals such as squirrels are equally aboreal. But certainly without those forward-looking eyes and grasping hands the world would be very different today. Some of the footage, such as the Orangutan and the Chimpanzee using a stick, seem ancuent, but overall this is great nature documentary, and Attenborough waxes most eloquent when he describes the affinity of the Gorilla to humans.
1:45 Ring-tailed Lemur has forward-facing eyes and hands for grasping, and also scent-marks on the ground (Madagascar) 5:50 Sifaka jumps from tree to tree, and hops on ground 7:25 Indri uses voice to communicate
8:50 Brown Lemur also use voice 10:20 Mouse Lemur comes out at night 10:50 Aye-aye raids eggs
11:35 Loris scent-marks in the trees, and has a moist nose like a Lemur (Malaysia) 13:10 Tarsier relies on sight, not smell 13:35 Common Marmosets use genital display to defend tree, and are active during the day (South America)
16:35 Squirrel Monkey 17:20 Howler Monkeys eat fruit and leaves, sing and have grasping tail and color vision 21:50 Vervet Monkey is comfortable on the ground (Africa)
23:40 Baboon eats a wide variety of food 25:40 Barbary Macaque (Rock of Gibraltar) 26:20 Japanese Macaque has dense fur, and bathe in volcanic springs (Japanese Alps)
28:45 Japanese Macaque can develop simple culture - learn to use new food (Koshima) 32:00 Silvered Leaf Monkey young has different color than parents. eats leaves and blossoms (Far East) 33:20 Orangutan is four-handed, and swing
34:35 Gibbon has long arms and hands as hooks for swinging 36:00 Mountain Gorilla can use fingers to explore and investigate (Central Africa) 44:30 Chimpanzees have a nimble mind and wide variety of diet and groom each other
50:00 Chimpanzee can use tools      
1:45 Ring-tailed Lemur
5:50 Sifaka
7:25 Indri
8:50 Brown Lemur
10:20 Mouse Lemur
10:50 Aye-aye
11:35 Loris
13:10 Tarsier
13:35 Common Marmosets
16:35 Squirrel Monkey
17:20 Howler Monkeys
21:50 Vervet Monkey
23:40 Baboon
25:40 Barbary Macaque
26:20 Japanese Macaque
28:45 Japanese Macaque
32:00 Silvered Leaf Monkey
33:20 Orangutan
34:35 Gibbon
36:00 Mountain Gorilla
44:30 Chimpanzees
50:00 Chimpanzee
Index Jan 17, 2006 copyleft Peter Chen