Among the Great Apes

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Join Paul Raffaele, whom the Washington Post calls the "last of the great, old-fashioned adventure writers," is on a journey to meet the last great apes living in the wild.

Humans have long felt a deep attraction to the great apes: bonobos, chimpanzees, orangutans, and gorillas. We see a reflection of ourselves in their faces, in their mannerisms, and in their interactions with kin. But we also look to them for contrast. Part of how we define ourselves as human rests with recognizing the differences between us and the great apes, in spite of the substantial amounts of DNA we share.

In decades past, many great primatologists, including Dian Fossey, Jane Goodall, and Richard Wrangham, have dedicated their lives to the observation and study of the great apes in their natural habitats. Unfortunately, many of these sheltering places no longer exist. The great apes live in some of the most volatile regions on our planet, lands plagued by civil unrest, poverty, environmental degradation, and corrupt governments.

In Among the Great Apes, acclaimed nature journalist Paul Raffaele goes into the wild to see how our closest relatives are faring today. He takes us through isolated jungles and misty mountain forests, sharing wonderfully intimate observations of ape life paired with the most current research about their behavior.

Raffaele introduces us to leading conservationists and researchers working to save and study the apes. But, best of all, he gets up close to these amazing animals. He describes orangutans fashioning umbrellas from long leaves, a young chimpanzee mothering a "baby" log, and the bonobos' lively ritual of swinging like gymnasts through the treetops before building elaborate nests to sleep in. Moving from Borneo to the Congo, Among the Great Apes brings us to the natural habitats of all the species and subspecies of the great apes—a trip possible for perhaps the last time.

Curriculet Details
81 Questions
89 Annotations
3 Quizzes

This free digital curriculum designed for 11th and 12th grade students contains interactive videos exploring irony, tone and different forms of figurative language as well as annotations describing characterization, conflict and imagery. Students will explore the characteristics and attributes of gorillas, chimpanzees and orangutans. The Common Core aligned questions, answers and quizzes in this free online unit will increase student engagement in the book while supporting reading comprehension.

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Homework #8

Left click a word with your mouse or press a word with your finger for a second to use the define feature or add your own annotations. When a given definition does not seem to fit the context of the reading, then you will want to use the "search Wikipedia or Google this word" option within the "define" feature in order to explore other definitions. 
Why has the author chosen to begin his journey by visiting the mountain gorillas? 
It's ironic that Fossey spent the final years of her life fighting to protect the mountain gorillas from not only poachers but tourism as well: the very thing that her work turned into. Please watch the short video below to learn about situational irony.  (This annotation contains a video)

Homework #9

Based on the text, what is an appropriate synonym for the word petrol? 
In the map below, you can see the position of Karisoke in relationship to the Congo, Uganda and Rwanda. (This annotation contains an image)
The Interahamwe can best be described as 
Diane Fossey opposed gorilla tourism because of the threat to the health of the gorillas. They are susceptible to contracting human diseases to which they have no built-up immunity. 
The Thinker is a bronze sculpture by Auguste Rodin, usually placed on a stone pedestal.  (This annotation contains an image)
What reason did the author give for why a female gorilla might leave her family? 
This gorilla is more fortunate than some. Medical intervention may save both the hand and the life of the animal. (This annotation contains an image)
The highlighted sentence most likely indicates what about the gorillas' relationship with human violence? 

Homework #10

Below is a picture of Ankole cattle, also known as The Cattle of Kings. (This annotation contains an image)
Based on the highlighted paragraph, you can infer that Dave 
Short-term, this is a double-edged sword: on one hand, the tourism prolongs the protection of habituated gorillas, while on the other hand, side-effects of human presence and interference affect populations unnaturally. Long-term, habituating the gorillas for tourism affects their health, safety and biodiversity, but if they are not habituated the agricultural progress will extinguish them. Both options seem to lead to the demise of the gorilla population in the end.  

Homework #11

Use textual evidence to summarize the conflict between the Tutsi and the Hutu from its origin to a possible future uprising of the Hutu.  
It's easy to see how one might receive serious injury from a gorilla bite! (This annotation contains an image)
The author equates a gorilla living a solitary life to which of the following? 

Homework #12

The image below depicts the flow of lava from Mt. Nyiragongo to Goma, nearly resembling the political border between Rwanda and the DRC. (This annotation contains an image)
Based on the reading thus far, what has not been labeled as a threat to the mountain gorilla population? 
The Bukima ranger post is located at the foot of Mt. Mikeno, found in the mid-left portion of the map below. The salmon colored ovals represent known rebel positions while the yellow represents known ranges of gorilla families along with the population of each group as of 2012. (This annotation contains an image)
This photograph clearly corroberates Jean-Marie's statement. Rugendo, the silverback, sits in a field with the Bukima post in the background, well beyond the dense canopy of the mountain where he would be expected. (This annotation contains an image)
What does the author suggest as a possible side-effect of habituation of the gorillas? 
Mathematically speaking this equates to 10%, or roughly 1 out of 10 of the gorillas born each year falling victim to infanticide.  
Briefly discuss some of the differences between gorillas and the other great apes. Provide textual evidence to support your response. 
Rwanda banned the production of charcoal within its borders in 1994, creating enormous pressure to find the precious resource for its 9 million residents elsewhere. National park rangers, most of whom were going without pay for months, have been suspected of falsifying rebel threats as a way of ensuring that they themselves could cut down trees and run charcoal production operations without obstruction. (This annotation contains an image)
Which of the choices below holds nearly the same meaning as the phrase steely resolve as it is used in the highlighted sentence? 

Homework #13

While reading a text intended for print such as this, the information within reflects a moment in time: the past. The fascinating aspect of technology is that it allows us to continue where the author necessarily had to leave off. By providing links to specific organizations, the reader has instant access to the most current information on the author's subject. Further and even more fascinating is that while an author may write a highly effective persuasive account, providing a link to an organization creates the "moment of decision" that has always eluded an audience of the printed word. Live presenters often work in a big push at the end to support their cause. A "call-to-action" if you will.  
Eye contact indicates __________ to a gorilla, while leaf in mouth indicates ____________. 
View the short video below to hear an example of various gorilla sounds. "Humming" begins at 0:51.  (This annotation contains a video)
Why did the author choose to write a one sentence paragraph here? 
In the foreground is Tutsi rebel leader Laurent Nkunda and in the background are Tutsi Rebels for Christ. (This annotation contains an image)
What is Lucy attempting that has never been attempted before? 
The villagers display of respect is very similar to what you would see for a human victim. (This annotation contains an image)

Homework #14

What is a gacaca?  
The map below illustrates the approximate sphere of influence held by numerous militia forces in the eastern Congo as of late 2013. Each color represents a different group of armed rebels. Goma rests at the northern tip of a blue body of water along the right border of the map. North of this, again along the eastern border, lies another blue body of water which resides in Virunga National Park. The road connecting these two areas on the map exists between Hutu (orange territory on the left) and Nkunda's rebels (yellow-green territory on the right).  (This annotation contains an image)

Homework #16

Describe how male chimpanzees react when other chimpanzees enter their territory. Mention specific details from the text to support your answer. 
Richard W. Wrangham is a British primatologist. He is the Ruth Moore Professor of Biological Anthropology at Harvard University and his research group is now part of the newly established Department of Human Evolutionary Biology. (This annotation contains an image)
In the past, the Korubo have killed trespassers on their land and the latest incident occurred year 2000 when Korubo warriors killed three lumbermen near their Indian Reservation. The behavior of these very primitive people sounds remarkably similar to the territorial behavior of chimpanzees. 
Chimpanzees are so genetically close to ________ that they can even receive blood transfusions from them. 

Homework #17

Goodall's research at Gombe Stream is best known to the scientific community for challenging two long-standing beliefs of the day: that only humans could construct and use tools, and that chimpanzees were vegetarians. 
Which technique did Goodall resort to in order to get closer to the chimpanzees? 
It was groundbreaking when Goodall discovered that chimps use tools because it removed one of the primary barriers between how we distinguished humans from other mammals. 
According to Goodall's observations, young female chimps learned at a quicker rate than males. Explain why this is so significant and support your response with textual evidence. 
It's interesting that Goodall uses figurative language that would normally be reserved for only human rulers to describe Frodo. Please watch the video below for an explanation of idioms. (This annotation contains a video)
How does Frodo show compassion for his brother, Freud? 

Homework #18

It's interesting that male chimpanzees show restraint when they beat females while human males often completely loose control. Yet, chimps are the ones considered wild animals. 
Male chimpanzees prefer ____________ for mating. 

Homework #19

The highlighted text illustrates a discouraged tone. See the video below for an explanation of tone. (This annotation contains a video)
What is the narrator told to do if he is attacked by a chimpanzee? 
We can see a similar display from humans when they play sports. Likewise, it is usually male humans that take part in this type of behavior. 
After chimpanzees kill children, how do the villagers respond? 
It's amazing how male chimpanzees can use strategy to improve their social rank just as a humans do. 
Use the define feature to derive the meaning of the word benign. Which word below would be an antonym of benign?  

Homework #20

In the video below, you can see a male dominance display between Frodo and Freud. (This annotation contains a video)
How does watching the video of these two chimps make the text seem more real to you?  
Describe how chimpanzee trainers manipulate chimpanzees to make certain facial expressions for films or TV appearances. 
In the image below is a bush baby. These were the animals being preyed upon by the female chimpanzees using primitive spears. (This annotation contains an image)
According to Stanford, the first push toward a larger brain may have been 
Imoso seizing the opportunity to attack Kakama when he was being attacked by colobus monkeys shows ruthlessness and strategy.  
According to Wrangham, for some chimpanzees, what is the most important part of the hunt? 
The graph below shows the prevalence of poaching. As you can see, it is most common in Africa: the natural habitat of chimpanzees. (This annotation contains an image)
Explain why Mawa is going mad in the sanctuary. Support your response with details from the text. 
Below is an image of Limbe sanctuary, as you can see, it does not emulate the conditions of the chimpanzees' natural habitat. (This annotation contains an image)

Homework #21

Why do some chimpanzees fear going on the grass in the island sanctuaries? 
The author goes into great detail to describe Melody to emphasize all her human-like qualities. This is probably done to evoke sympathy from the reader. 
Among the Great Apes Quiz 1 

Homework #23

In the image below, you can clearly see the physical differences between chimpanzees and bonobos. (This annotation contains an image)
Why would American feminists come forward to claim the bonobo? 
In the timeline below, you can see the level of violence and warfare that has taken place in the Congo region. (This annotation contains an image)
The highlighted text contains an example of which type of figurative language? 

Homework #24

It is interesting that the president of the conservation group stated that chimps are from Mars, and bonobos are from Venus because she is basically implying that chimps are like men and cause violence whereas bonobos are like women and seek peace. 
Explain how the bonobos response to tension is different than chimpanzees. Support your answer with textual evidence. 
It's amazing how quickly bonobos can recover from emotional trauma. This is one distinct difference from humans. A human child would not be fine one day later after watching someone kill his mother. 
What do the researchers use to lure the bonobos for observation?  
When the author describes the tree branches attacking him, he is using personification. Please see the video below for a more detailed explanation of this form of figurative language. (This annotation contains a video)
Why do the hundreds of people that the author comes across in Bansankusu not return his smile? 

Homework #25

It's interesting that the researchers have come across a dominant male when bonobos are suppose to be matriarchal.  
According to research, how do lower ranking female bonobos play homage to higher ranking ones? 
It's amazing how loyal Koi was to the bonobos sacrificing his life to protect their location. 
Why are bonobos difficult to observe and research? 
It seems that there is a double standard for female and male bonobos when it comes to sexual contact. This same double standard often exists with humans. 
According to Kano, what does the bonobos' richer sex life show about them, especially when compared to chimpanzees. Support your answer with textual evidence. 
When Leonard describes the bonobos as not habituated, he means that they are unfamiliar with humans. This is important to the researchers because they get a more authentic look at how bonobos behave in their natural habitat. 
How does the author characterize the boatman and Michael? 

Homework #26

Explain why Kanzi was able to learn the symbols on the lexigram much more quickly than Matata. Include details from the text to support your response. 
Von Glasersfeld coined the term "lexigram" in 1971, created the first 120 of them, and designed the grammar that regulated their combination. This artificial language was called Yerkish in honor of Robert M. Yerkes, the founder of the laboratory within which the lexigrams were first used. 
I don't know why Wynne would be disappointed in Kanzi's understanding of grammar. Bonobos do not speak or write, so why would they have any understanding of grammar? Even if they were taught grammatical structures, bonobos would have no way of practicing proper grammar usage. 
When Sue states that bonobos are much more vocal than chimpanzees, what does she seem to be implying? 

Homework #27

You have to wonder if Kanzi's impulsivity, sensitivity and anger issues can be attributed to being kept in captivity. Would he still posses these same traits in the wild? 
How does Kanzi react when the author demonstrates the Maori haka? 
In the video below, you can watch Kanzi use matches to start a fire and roast some marshmallows. (This annotation contains a video)
Explain why Kanzi is at a disadvantage creating stone tools compared to ancient man. Support your response with textual evidence. 

Homework #29

From top to bottom: (thought to be) Cross River gorilla, western lowland gorilla, eastern lowland gorilla, and mountain gorilla. (This annotation contains an image)
What are three differences between mountain gorillas and western lowland gorillas? 
Now we are cheering for the primatologists because they (hopefully) have learned that they were looking at an entire species through a flawed filter regarding the ape's ability to use tools. In retrospect, it seems that they should have asked, "Do they need tools, and if so, for what purpose?" Sometimes it's a simple shift in perspective that brings about a clear picture. 
Which meaning of shudder is used in the highlighted sentence? 

Homework #30

With an average $300 annual income, you can see why preserving great ape populations is not a priority. 
Provide textual evidence that supports the idea that the author suspects misconduct has occurred.  
It seems that they were able to extort money from him after all. 
How does the author feel about Pygmies? 
Look at the triangular border of Dzanga-Sangha Dense Special Forest Reserve as seen below.  (This annotation contains an image)
Tooth filing, as well as forehead and cheek tattooing, are a sign of beautification among the Pygmy culture.  (This annotation contains an image)
What did the author do that infuriated the silverback? 
The author takes note of William's ability to translate a dialogue that not only criticizes his own people, but also pokes fun at them.  
It's interesting that subspecies of gorillas differ in more than just appearance and environmental adaptations. This begs the question: is the fluidity or rigidity of cohort membership merely an environmental adaptation? A survival mechanism of some sort? 
Why does Wasse tell the author, "You are a man"? 

Homework #31

We see a connection here to the previous annotation. If the western lowland gorillas displayed dynastic behaviors, supporting one another, then this is in fact a reason for the fluid membership between family groups.  
Why would the easygoing mountain gorillas have a more pronounced sagittal crest than western lowland gorillas? 
Pharmacist John Pemberton took extracts of kola nut (containing natural caffeine from the cola genus) and coca (the plant source from which cocaine is derived) and mixed them with other ingredients to invent the first cola soft drink in the 1800's, Coca-cola. 
Why do you think the silverback being observed by the Japanese in the DRC spared the life of the third newborn? Provide textual support for your response. 
A scene from the dzanga bai. (This annotation contains an image)
What purpose do the clicking and coughing sounds made by the trackers serve? 
This is an example of a Russian bolt action rifle.  (This annotation contains an image)
This is an example of an AK-47 assault rifle.  (This annotation contains an image)
What was the author trying to convey to the reader with the highlighted words? 
Below is a picture of an unhabituated gorilla; these images are rare because unhabituated apes avoid humans. (This annotation contains an image)
Explain what the bai symbolizes to Dave. Based on the photograph from a few pages ago, can you see why? 
The government is probably more interested in attracting tourism through the animals than providing quality care for them. Previous chapters also raise the question as to whether there are corrupt government officials who are involved in the poaching and black market trade of these apes.  

Homework #32

Among the Great Apes Quiz 2 

Homework #34

In the map below, you can see the location of Cameroon and it's proximity to surrounding African countries. (This annotation contains an image)
The author's detailed description of the shantytowns is an example of which literary device? 
The frog researcher brings up a logical argument: would we spend so much money to save the orphan chimps and gorillas if they were not our closest genetic relatives? 
How do the chimps in the sanctuaries learn to live like chimps in the wild? 
Shigella infection (shigellosis) is an intestinal disease caused by a family of bacteria known as shigella. The main sign of shigella infection is diarrhea, which often is bloody.  
According to sanctuary managers, how do most great apes learn to survive? 

Homework #35

The author uses a simile in the highlighted description, so readers can picture the dense forest in their minds. Please see the video below for an explanation on how to distinguish similes from metaphors. (This annotation contains a video)
Explain why the pygmies way of life is being threatened. Include textual evidence in your response. 
Do you think that the pygmies spare female gorillas with infants out of compassion or to help ensure future populations of gorillas to kill? 
How is the Ejengi that the author witnesses different than the one he saw in Mossapola? 

Homework #36

Below is a picture of the only Cross River gorilla in captivity. (This annotation contains an image)
The author's description of the driver's intentions is an example of which type of figurative language? 
As you can see in the image below, there is not a lot of stimulation for the apes at the Limbe sanctuary. (This annotation contains an image)
Where does the author think the Taiping Four should have been placed? 
It is sad to learn that the gorillas learned to throw objects at humans from watching humans throw rocks at them. 
What does the author attribute to the decline of Cross River gorillas that began about one hundred years ago? 

Homework #37

The state-imposed curfew is just another example of how many of the governments in Africa are dysfunctional. Of course they cannot do a good job protecting their wild apes when they cannot provide for their people. 
Why are the gorillas safe in the sanctuaries when soldiers are shooting rioters just down the street? 
In the highlighted text, the author exaggerates the condition of the car when he states that the car would fall apart if he gave it a good kick. Please view the video below for an explanation of hyperbole. (This annotation contains a video)
Why did the villagers not riot like the people in Limbe? 
In the picture below, you can see the remote location of Njikwa. (This annotation contains an image)
What does the antique curved sword symbolize? 
The Cross River gorillas' habitat is on either side of the cross river, which is pictured below. (This annotation contains an image)
Why do researchers deliberately avoid contact with Cross River gorillas? 

Homework #38

At first, the author seems pretty nonchalant about having his toe nails ripped off. He seems to want to depict himself as a courageous adventurer. 
Why is the author quick to point out that he continues to track the gorillas even though he is feeling red-hot pain in his toes? 
The element of the plan that seems most promising is helping local villagers to create small business so that they no longer need to poach. That would eliminate the monetary motivation to hunt gorillas. 
According to the text, how do the villagers react when questioned by rangers about hunting gorillas? 

Homework #40

The one-handed dangle is clearly a breeze for this orangutan.  (This annotation contains an image)
In what ways do orangutans differ from their great ape cousins? 
The video below captures the rocking back and forth method of an orangutan traveling from tree to tree.  (This annotation contains a video)
What is the "silent trade" of which the author is speaking? Provide textual evidence to support your response. 
Follow the link to witness Ujan's whistling talent.  (This annotation contains a video)
Translator James Burnett wrote that orangutans do not speak because  

Homework #41

The picture below shows the rescue of a pregnant orangutan clinging to the last tree in her Bornean forest home, destroyed by the palm oil industry.  (This annotation contains an image)
What was Galdikas trying to prove to skeptics? 
Herein lies the dilemma: is orangutan tourism more helpful or more harmful to the displaced and orphaned population? 
What did Russon criticize about Galidikas' orangutan rehabilitation efforts? 

Homework #42

Sandakan formerly known at various times as Elopura, is the second-largest town in Sabah after the Kota Kinabalu City, on the north-eastern coast of Borneo in Malaysia.  (This annotation contains an image)
Explain why the author contends that it is dangerous to put your head up and protest in Malaysia. Include details from the text to support your response. 
It's interesting that two people that supposedly are both committed to preserving wild life would have such a confrontational relationship. 
Sylvia's responses to the author's tough questions can best be described as  
Scientists refer to mating between nonflanged oragutans and female ones as "resistant mating," but since the female is not injured, they do not refer to it as rape. 
Explain why more than forty percent of the orangutans that are released back into the wild do not survive. Support your answer with textual evidence. 
Some African crocodiles can reach up to twenty feet in size. (This annotation contains an image)
Analyze the last sentence in the second paragraph. Why would the author end the paragraph with such a brief statement? 
This brings up an intriguing question. Is it a fair trade-off to keep wild animals in captivity in order to educate people about preserving them in the wild? 

Homework #43

Which of the following activities could be described as soporific? 
Below is a collection of leeches that are common in Africa. (This annotation contains an image)
Why does the blood flow so freely from the author's ear? 

Homework #45

The typical persuasive essay concludes with a final call to action. This is where the author appeals to our sentiment, draws us in by emotionally charging us. The highlighted selection is intended to rile the reader into a state of defense where one must either take action or accept the blame for doing nothing.  
Based on the highlighted paragraphs, what type of action is the author primarily hoping to elicit from his reading audience?  
Here the author begins a matching bookend to the emotional charge found at the beginning of this final chapter. An effective writer compels the reader to take action on his own free will, however, a wise reader is aware of just how overtly he is being manipulated by the power of persuasion.  
Among the Great Apes Quiz 3