Image for Love to learn

Love to learn

Duration: 02:15

Families have a new role: to provide emotional support. For mother and baby, nothing in the world is more important, or brings greater joy. Baby chimpanzees spend years learning about each other and their traditions. Families are the schools. In Central Africa, chimps crack nuts with rocks and the trick is passed, mother to baby, down the generations. It’s part of their culture. In East Africa they catch termites using twigs while the babies watch and learn. The youngsters get the basics almost immediately: it’s something to do with a stick. In some extraordinary footage, the mother tries to help and is pushed away by the youngster. With endless patience, she tries again, attempting to show the baby that a smaller stick would work better. Only humans are supposed actively to teach, but textbooks can be rewritten if necessary. Young chimps get enormous pleasure from termite fishing. A hunger to learn, and satisfaction with success, is also part of our biology. It must drive a lot of what we do.

Available since: Thu 26 Nov 2009


David Attenborough
Mark Fletcher

This clip is from

Natural World 2009-2010, Bringing Up Baby

5/14 Natural World investigates the vital bond between animal mothers and their babies.

First broadcast: 26 Nov 2009

Image for Bringing Up Baby Not currently available on BBC iPlayer

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