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Kingdom of the Apes with Jane Goodall

Nat Geo Wild heads for the jungle this Sunday with Kingdom of the Apes with Jane Goodall.

Jane Goodall has watched these apes for more than 50 years. They have their own unique life histories and incredible dramas, and she introduces this special event that brings two of these stories out of the trees and into our living rooms.

In the first hour, Clash of Kings, we watch as 400 pound giant silverback gorilla king Titus cares for and leads his clan. An elder ape at 35 years old, he is now being challenged for leadership by his own son Rano. Titus maintains order through chest thumping displays and threats, but Rano seeks to unseat him. Challengers don't alway survive the attempt to take the crown. Will Rano succeed? Will Titus hold his place?

In the second hour, Brother Against Brother, we again see ape politics in action as brothers Freud and Frodo battle for control of their chimp kingdom. War breaks out and we see the ingenuity, capacity for violence, emotional intelligence and even empathy that has many similarities and parallels to how we see humans behave. One brother with come out on top, but which one?

Personally, I find watching ape documentaries to be fascinating. Clearly we are far removed from them down the chain of evolution, but it is evident that they are not just dumb animals. Seeing the stories play out, you can easily understand why Jane Goodall has spent so much of her life following and studying them.

Perhaps the politics of families and mating might lead to some uncomfortable questions from the kids, but Kingdom of the Apes with Jane Goodall is solidly made and tells intriguing stories that are worth watching.

Review by Jason Pace
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