Nat Geo Premieres New Series GOING APE Tonight
Do apes and humans have the same way of flirting and trying to hook up? Do men meeting for the first time look classically like chimpanzees establishing dominance? And do children sneaking candy parallel chimps deceiving their alpha male? Six million years ago, we branched off from the Family Tree we share with our ape cousins and monkey uncles. We may have evolved since then, but there's still an ape in all of us....
GOING APE, premiering tonight, May 13, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on the National Geographic Channel (NGC), following the new hit series Brain Games, looks to our primate predecessors to understand human interaction and social dynamics. Not only do humans share 98 percent of our genetic code with our closest ape relatives, we also share some of the same inherent basic instincts. This revealing, often comic three-part series explores humans' daily battles for power, territory, sex and allegiance with that of our monkey cousins through humorous experiments, hidden camera footage, wildlife footage and expert analysis. (For more information, see natgeotv.com and @NGC_PR on Twitter).
First, we'll learn that finding a mate in the primate world isn't all that different than "hooking up" in our own urban jungle. Going Ape looks at the human dating world and compares it with primates' courtship and mating rituals. See how a guy checking out a girl by stealing glances at her chest or bottom, and a woman subtly looking at a man with flirting eyes and a slight smile, can be surprisingly similar to how our ape friends act.
And it doesn't stop there. In the ape world, males are programmed to respond to fertile females; as it turns out, the same goes for the human world. Similar to the way a female ape's rump will swell and redden when she is ovulating, a woman's lips and cheeks get pinker, and even her smell changes. Evolutionary psychologist Dr. Miriam Law Smith invited a group of men to demonstrate that, just like apes, we can't help but be attracted to those subtle signs of fertility. Surprisingly, 100 percent of the test subjects were more attracted to the scent of an ovulating identical twin, compared with that of her non-ovulating sister.
Then, check out the experiments that are designed to bring out the inner alpha ape in unsuspecting "average Joes." Primatologist Charlotte Uhlenbrooke explains that "the most fundamental thing that any individual can do to increase their status is to look bigger." Comparing wildlife footage of a troop of chimpanzees to hidden camera footage of a group of men meeting for the first time, see the fascinating similarities as the chimpanzees raise their hair to look bigger and the men unknowingly broaden their shoulders, hold their heads higher and make bold eye contact to establish dominance in the first seconds of meeting.
Finally, it doesn't matter if you've got a million Twitter followers or just 50 friends on Facebook - our desire to be popular comes from an instinctive need to be liked. By observing two young interns who think that they are applying to work for a rock star, see how primal social climbing, grooming and Deception are used from day to day. Likewise, hidden cameras in a classroom catch schoolchildren sneaking candy while the teacher is not looking, just like a group of chimps try to get what they want when an alpha male's back is turned.
By observing the primate world and setting up near identical social experiments with humans, Going Ape explores the root of our basic behavior: our inner ape.
Going Ape: The Alpha Male Monday, May 13, at 10 p.m. ET/PT Food and sex: with all the benefits that come with being the alpha male, it's no surprise that male apes work so hard to get to the top. But it's not just our chimpanzee cousins who are in a constant struggle for power. From the world leader's power walk and the CEO's dominance posture, to our subtle everyday power struggles with strangers, this episode explores how those similar instincts remain, and how - just like in the jungle - so many human interactions can be a battle to become king of the swingers.
Going Ape: Hooking Up Monday, May 20, at 10 p.m. ET/PT The desire to find a mate drives a lot of ape behavior, and despite millions of years of evolution, we're no exception. We'll explore the different mating strategies of our ape cousins, and look at how we retain some of the same preferences. To demonstrate this, NGC carries out a series of social experiments designed to bring out the inner ape in unsuspecting humans and compare their interactions with that of primates.
Going Ape: Social Climbers Monday, June 3, at 10 p.m. ET/PT Every wonder why so many people seek fame? Our desire to be popular comes from an instinctive need to be liked. In this episode, find out why primates and humans both need to be part of social groups. Primatology experts compare ape behavior to that of humans to see how chitchat can improve status, and why we're so good at deception. Hidden camera footage reveals our natural instinct to social climb, gossip and deceive.
Going Ape is produced by Blink Entertainment Ltd for National Geographic Channel. For Blink, executive producer is Justine Kershaw; series producer is Matt J. Smith; and producer/director is Matthew Gillbe. For National Geographic Channel, executive producers are Ed Sayer and Richard J. Wells; Vice president of production and development is Charlie Parsons; and president is Howard T. Owens.
For more information on the show, visit www.natgeotv.com.
About National Geographic Channels
Based at the National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., the National Geographic Channels US are a joint venture between National Geographic and FOX Cable Networks. The Channels contribute to the National Geographic Society's commitment to exploration, conservation and education with smart, innovative programming and profits that directly support its mission. Launched in January 2001, National Geographic Channel (NGC) celebrated its fifth anniversary with the debut of NGC HD. In 2010, the wildlife and natural history cable channel Nat Geo WILD was launched, and in 2011, the Spanish-language network Nat Geo Mundo was unveiled. The Channels have carriage with all of the nation's major cable, telco and satellite television providers, with NGC currently available in 85 million U.S. homes. Globally, National Geographic Channel is available in more than 440 million homes in 171 countries and 38 languages.