Primates & Pop Culture: Volume I

I’m on a mission, readers!

No, not finishing my dissertation (although I’m still working diligently on that).

No, not being a super-awesome mom to my 5-month old daughter (although I’m doing that too).

This mission is something else.  A new idea for an experiment in pedagogic creativity, and I need your help to flesh it out.

In short, I want to create a class that uses primates in pop culture — real or fictional — as a jumping-off point for teaching students about the realities of primate evolution, behavior, cognition, etc.  I want to shine a light on characters like Curious George and King Kong to lay to rest common misconceptions that people have about chimps, gorillas, and other species in our taxonomic Order.

Note to self: be careful using phrases such as "jumping off point" and "lay to rest"

So who are your favorite pop culture primates?  Please add to my short list to help me build the framework for the class.  Novels, short stories, non-fiction books, TV shows, and movies (documentary or fiction) are all welcome sources.

Curious George
King Kong
The Planet of the Apes series
Project Nim
Koko’s Kitten
Ape House
Orangutan Island & Lemur Kingdom


11 responses to “Primates & Pop Culture: Volume I

  1. Yes, I’ve seen the various Wikipedia entries. But I want to know what actually resonates with people.

  2. “Project X” with Matthew Broderick comes to mind. Chimps as test subjects as academic fodder? Seems plausible.

  3. Now I cannot remember many primates having a big impact on me with the exception of the monkey on Tarzan of The Apes. Now I am on a mission to find out his name

  4. Marcel, of course.

  5. Oh! And Abu! Aladdin would have been lost without him.

  6. My daughter likes the monkey ( a side kick who wears boots) on Dora the Explorer. Interesting. As well as, the “monkeys jumping on the bed” which is a popular book and they’ve even made different versions jumping on and falling off of different things. Also, big picture books such as the “my first” series often have real images of various monkeys and apes doing different things: parenting, eating a banana, hanging from a tree, etc. My kid tends to point out the “monkey” (we are working on distinguishing “apes” before she turns 2 next month j.k.:) in those various books and making the sounds.

    I know this isn’t the same thing, but by kid is really obsessed with various primates she encounters in books and toys (or, rather, her mother is and tends to buy primate centered books and toys…hmmm…). The famous sock monkey in different colors, various gorilla and monkey toys, riding the gorilla on the carousel (yes, they have a few of those and “we” always choose the primate over the pony),

  7. Pingback: Hamadryas and Pangolins and Mastodons, oh my! | The Tinkering Primate

  8. Pingback: Have you met….me? | The Tinkering Primate

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