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The Error And Misrepresantstion Of Ape Intelligence By The National Geographic TV

The National Geographic TV aired on the April 3, 2003 a program called “Who is Aping Who?: Hearts and Minds.” Central to this programs storyline were, as always, some well-trained apes. The National Geographic TV was relating information about these apes as if they were people and went on to speculate about these beings’ emotions and thoughts but the really striking thing about it all was that the whole thing was geared to have an emotional impact on the viewer. In this article we are going to bare the emotional blackmail the National Geographic TV resorts to in order to have the viewer believe the tale about humans and chimpanzees being close relatives.

In this program, chimpanzees used as guinea pigs in space as well as medical research were, alongside some adroit bonobo apes and orangutans the main feature. The National Geographic TV speculated generously about the thoughts and feelings these creatures might have had during their captivity in cages or the experiments they were subjected to, in a theatrical way that was aiming at having the viewer consider these beings as if humans. The underlying message of the program was:

“If we want to understand their hearts and minds we must get to know the ape in us and the human in them better.”


The romantic finale with which this program closed revealed the purpose of its commissioning. We have written in other articles that the National Geographic TV focuses on chimpanzees even though there are many other intelligent creatures to be found in nature. They do this because they use chimpanzees as a symbol for their Darwinist propaganda. When the assertions made about chimpanzees are scrutinized, the symbolization efforts become apparent.

For instance, these are the words used for the chimpanzees sent to space at a time when no man had yet been there in order to assess the potential effects of space travel and the speed of rockets on the human body:

“Had it not been for our closest relatives, the chimpanzees, mankind’s biggest victory might never have been.”


Despite of other animals, like dogs and mice, being sent to space, it is always chimpanzees that are elevated to hero status on the National Geographic TV’s screens. The TV channel refers to the chimpanzees as “retired air force personnel” or “other people” when they are placed in nursing centers after the experiments, and these centers are termed to be rehabilitation centers.

Then a chimpanzee with the name Ham is mentioned with the following words: “He has realized our space dream. Ham is no longer with us but the air force buried him along with other space research personnel in the space hero’s cemetery.”

It is known that dolphins and sea lions are used in mine clearing duties as living detectors. These creatures were used in active duty in the Iraq operation in March 2003. Dogs play an important role in the police forces narcotic operations but the National Geographic TV is systematically giving airtime to research and other projects in which chimpanzees feature. The purpose of this systematic programming is to implant into the minds of people the notion that chimpanzees are our closest relatives as we have already mentioned.

For this end, the abilities of chimpanzees are often exaggerated and deliberately misrepresented according to evolutionist propaganda. There is a blatant example of this in the program: In a research center, under the supervision of his custodian, a bonobo, a piece of rock in each hand, hits them against one another. This action causes the rocks to chip. Some pieces fall to the ground and the remaining pieces have altered in shape in the hands of the bonobo. His master picks up one of these pieces of rock from the floor and presenting it to the camera he exclaims: “Well done! You have made yourself a sharp knife.”

The presenter of the show jumps in and asks in a serious manner: “If a bonobo can make a knife out of rock what could bigger apes do?”

Viewers could be misled to believe that this bonobo was smashing the rocks against one another for the purpose of making himself a sharp tool and that it could repeat this feat at will. In reality, what is seen on the National Geographic TV’s screen is a show, a theatre. It is a known fact that chimpanzees can use tools. They use rocks to break the shells of nuts and poke sticks into termite mounts, then eat the termites clinging onto it but there is no knowledge of bonobos or chimpanzees making tools for a specific purpose to date.

Yes, the bonobo in the program might well have acquired a sharp tool as a consequence but he neither wanted this nor planned his actions to get it. Thus, there is no difference really, between a sharp stone, formed by the forces of nature or by the hand of a bonobo; both are unconscious happenings. The bonobo was not the one to give this sharp piece of rock to his master, to the contrary the handler picked it up and made a show of it, presenting it to the camera.

The bonobo was unconscious of what was happening and most probably had no other interest in the matter other than the banana he was due to receive. The appropriate arena for this kind of shows is a circus but the National Geographic TV selects primates from research centers. That a scientist rather than a trainer provide the accompanying commentary to the ape’s display of skills indicates the desire to base the Darwinist propaganda on a scientific footing.

In reality the apes from the research center are conditioned just like their cousins from the circus by the carrot and stick method whereby, in this instance, the ape is trained to smash the rocks against one another. Darwinist media organizations like the National Geographic TV dress up these shows and air them in the form of evolution propaganda.

Later on in the program the escape from the zoo of Joe, an orangutan, is related by his custodian. Joe apparently rolled a car tire to the base of the wall, managed thereby to climb over it, and jumped into someone’s office where he sat for a while. From here, he went to watch some sheep alongside people and then proceeded to make his escape. Joe’s custodian goes on to say that he not only considers Joe to have seized the moment of opportunity but also that he must have premeditated his actions beforehand.

All this creates an impression as if Joe escaped a well-guarded prison with a perfect plan. In this way, the National Geographic TV tries to portray orangutans as creatures of intelligence capable of making plans and thus adds another chapter to the saga of man and apes being related to one another. It is well known that other animals display similar behavior. For instance, foxes are much more “intelligent” in this respect. It is an animal smart enough to burrow tunnels to get to the chickens in the henhouse but as this feat has no ideological propaganda value for the National Geographic TV, we are not treated to a documentary about the sly fox.

The program moves then on from the orangutans escape to the chimpanzees in the jungles of Uganda. The male members of the chimpanzees studied by the researcher launch an attack on the neighboring gang. The researcher compares the conflict between neighboring chimpanzee clans to the wars fought by man with the following words: “Whether in Bosnia, Lebanon or Ethiopia or the jungle of Uganda, in either species the young males of one tribe engage in warfare with the males of another.” National Geographic TV claims that this research will benefit our understanding of the evolutionary roots of violence in man.

This again is an unscientific scenario. That there are similarities in this respect between the two species does not demonstrate that violence is evolutionary, just like architecture is not evolutionary: Beavers build dams, termites “skyscrapers” and honeybees build geometrically perfect hexagonal comb structures.

Then the program moves on to gorillas, relating the story of a “shaken” clan following the death of its dominant male, Kiki. Accordingly, the gorillas return frequently to Kiki’s favorite place and cry. Their custodian says that the gorillas have lost their appetite, are all-quiet and that he finds them to be more considerate and emotional than humans. However, this emotional atmosphere tried to be created among the viewers by the National Geographic TV does not aid the evolution theory in any way. Dog loyalty is legendary and it is known that they howl and whine for days following the death of their master, meaning to say that gorillas appearing to be mourning do not make them relatives of man. All these are just deceptive scenarios intending to make believe that humans have evolved from primates and the National Geographic TV takes it to extremes with emotional blackmail.

Another example given by the National Geographic TV for the “feelings” of chimpanzees is a bonobo introduced to a blind student, who is brought to the research center and spends some time in the company of this bonobo. The following day the bonobo is shown the video footing of this session and when he sees the student appearing on the screen he covers both of his eyes with his hands, then goes around the room touching up the walls. The custodian explains that the bonobo has been emotionally affected and that it is trying to comprehend by covering his eyes, the life of a blind person’s reality. When what is seen on the screen is considered from the angle of the commentary by the custodian, the resulting impression can be misleading. Even if the bonobo realized the blindness of the person, this does not make him a relative of man. This is a “sixth sense” inherent in some animals. For example, dogs can sense when their masters are unwell. Many science projects aim to make use of dog’s superior senses and dogs are even used in the diagnosis of prostate cancer. They are also trained as guide dogs for the blind. These dogs’ lives revolve around their masters’ movements, protecting them from any hazards on the way. Of course, bonobos’ skills are remarkable but it is an invalid approach to link this to evolution and it stems from the National Geographic TV’s Darwinist prejudices.

Since the National Geographic TV doesn’t have any scientific evidence to support its evolution tales it resorts to documentaries aimed at the “soft underbelly” of the viewer. Primates’ common characteristics with humans like violence, “mourning” or some acquired skills do not make them relatives of man. We recommend that the National Geographic TV cease to produce programs lacking scientific content based on unfounded speculation.

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