I'm delighted to learn that the first movie filmed by chimpanzees is to be shown on the BBC.
Making the movie was the brainchild of primatologist Ms Betsy Herrelko, who is studying for a PhD in primate behaviour at the University of Stirling, UK.
Over 18 months, she introduced video technology to a group of 11 chimpanzees living in a newly built enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo, UK.
The enclosure, which contains three large interlinked outdoor arenas, as well as a series of smaller rooms in which the apes can be studied by researchers, is the largest of its kind in the world.
Despite the fact that the chimps had never taken part in a research project before, they soon displayed an interest in film-making.
Ms Herrelko set the chimps two challenges.
The first was to teach the chimps how to use a touchscreen to select different videos.
By doing so, Ms Herrelko could investigate which types of images chimps prefer to watch.
The second challenge was to give the apes a "Chimpcam", a recording camera housed in a chimp-proof box.
On top of the box was a video screen that showed live images of whatever the camera was pointing at.
Initially, the chimps were more interested in each other than the video technology, as two male chimps within the study group vied to become the alpha male, disrupting the experiment.
But over time, some of the chimps learned how to select different videos to watch.
. . .
Then in the final stage of her work, she investigated what happened when she gave the Chimpcam to the whole group.
Gradually, the chimps started playing with the Chimpcam, carrying it around the enclosure.
The chimps soon became interested in the camera view screen on the Chimpcam box, watching what happened as they moved the Chimpcam around filming new images.
Overall, they were more interested in the Chipcam viewfinder than they were the touchscreen in the research room.
The apes are unlikely to have actively tried to film any particular subject, or understand that by carrying Chimpcam around, they were making a film.
However, the result, as well as providing new information on how chimps like to see the world, may yet go down in television history.
There's more at the link.
Here's a preview of the BBC 'movie'.
Interesting close-up technique, let down by poor make-up, I thought . . . and didn't I recognize Alec Baldwin in one of those shots?