The Human Animal book front.
The Human Animal book back.
The Human Animal
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"The Human Animal" series, presented by Desmond Morris
(a 1994 BBC/Learning Channel production)
videos
you tube videos
BBC versions
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Author/Presenter: Desmond Morris

"The Human Animal ...a major six-part series, shows that, however much we may think we have evolved from our animal ancestors, our instincts and behaviour are still rooted in our animal past. By denying this inheritance we are in danger of destroying everything we have strived so hard to create.
    Despite the different skin colours, beliefs and rituals to be found in the 5000 million human beings alive today, we actually all share an almost identical genetic heritage. In this portrait of the human species, Desmond Morris takes us right to the centre of human existence and explores all aspects of human life and behaviour. From the way we rear our young to the common use of certain facial gestures, he covers a fascinating variety of subjects: how our hunting instincts have been channelled into an extraordinary range of sporting activities; how the modern art world can trace its roots back to an early primate picking up a stone resembling a face; how different courtship rituals across the world reflect the universal emotion of love.
    Desmond Morris also looks at some of the damaging consequences that can be seen when we try to deny our animal heritage: how territorial fights erupt when the tribal systems within our overcrowded cities break down, and how human relationships disintegrate when natural social or sexual patterns change.
   
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    The Language of the Body
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    The Hunting Ape
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    The Human Zoo
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    The Biology of Love
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    The Immortal Genes
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    Beyond Survival





The Language of the Body http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6600330421430506831#docid=-3323021761394989726

    The BBC's Natural History Unit focuses on the planet's most advanced (?) animal, beginning with a look at how man communicated before the evolution of language. Some gestures and expressions are so ingrained that we have not been able to erase them from our vocabulary. The meanings of some gestures and facial expressions may vary between cultures. Overview & Study Guide

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The Hunting Ape http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6600330421430506831#docid=3759901256066398161

    This episode looks at our most fundamental activity - finding food, examining how humans exploit even the most inhospitable environments, and analysing how our origins as hunter-gatherers manifest themselves in the fast-food culture of the modern world.

DEFINITION? what is predation? what is prey? [Ideas and terms: "true predation, grazing, parasitism; generalists and specialists]

DEVELOPMENT? How does predation (or predator evasion) change throughout an individual's development? For example, from infancy to maturity; which changes are relatively FIXED (don't change easily if at all with environment) or FLEXIBLE (subject to change because of different environment ... is fixity or flexibility different at different ages?) [Ideas and terms: ...] epigenesis, non-associative learning (habituation and sensitization), associative learning, open and closed genetic programs; "fixed" and "flexible" traits]

ECOLOGY? How might geography (climate, the physical nature of the organism's niche) affect predation (or predator evasion)? What NEEDS are met? what are the costs/benefits of communicating? What "modalities" are utilized to communicate? [Ideas and terms: camouflage, crypsis, epigenesis, niche, carrying capacity, selection pressure, kin recognition, competition, evasion or defensive strategies, mimicry, crypsis, mobbing]

EVOLUTION? How has predation (or predator evasion) changed across the generations? Has the environment (in which a trait evolved or had its contribution to fitness enhanced) changed during the animal's known evolutionary history? What are the effects of EPIGENESIS? Which genetic "programs" that affect communications are "open" or "closed" to environmental influence?) [Ideas and terms: "environment of evolutionary adaptedness (EEA)", stable polymorphism; co-evolution; kin recognition]

PHYSIOLOGY? How are predators (or prey) detected, integrated in the brain, and (possibly) acted upon? What is the physiological background to the expression of predation or predator evasion? [Ideas and terms: hunger, appetite, stress effects on behavior]

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The Human Zoo http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6600330421430506831#docid=7742555242441801307

    In evolutionary terms, the human animal has gone from mud hut to skyscraper in the mere twinkling of an eye. The cameras of the Natural History Unit capture the subtleties of human hierarchy in an English pub, the urge to set up and defend territory in a Tokyo park, and tribal behaviour as displayed by gangs in Los Angeles.

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The Biology of Love

In this program, Desmond Morris analyzes the biological nature of love, with its attendant patterns of behaviour and signals of health and fertility that have evolved to ensure pair-bonding and genetic survival. The pre- and post-pubescent periods of sexual maturation, the stages of courtship, and the aesthetics of physical beauty are studied, along with the anatomical mechanics of sexual arousal and copulation. In addition, the stresses placed on couples by life in an urbanized, crowded world are explored.
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The Immortal Genes

Desmond Morris looks at the natural history of the human parent and child. Why do homo sapiens devote more time to raising their young than any other animal? What makes parents sacrifice so much for their children, and why, once the offspring have been raised, don't humans simply die off as other creatures do? Desmond reveals how children offer a way of overcoming death itself. [selected points]

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Beyond Survival https://digitalmedia.utk.edu/redir/display/r/22741.rm http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6600330421430506831#docid=4112551354986527535

    Humans are animals with similar biological needs to other species. So why have we got art, cinema, sport, literature and philosophy? Desmond Morris examines what the human animal does when it has sorted out its basic needs - food, warmth and shelter - and has gone beyond mere survival. Morris explores the inventiveness of human behaviour, and comes to some fascinating conclusions. [selected points]

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5/2010