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The Naked Ape

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The Naked Ape is a popular science book by Desmond Morris. Dr. Morris stunned the 1967 universe by writing a pop anthropology book, first serialized in London's Daily Mirror tabloid, in which he described humans in the same objective, analytical way that zoologists describe animals. Dr. Morris was the curator of mammals at the London Zoo, a specialist in primates, and his particular slant on the nature of man was that our species is best viewed as a very complicated primate. The title of the book is derived from the fact that there are 193 species of monkeys and apes on the planet, of which man is the only one not entirely covered in fur and is, therefore, the only naked ape. Scientific critics of the book pointed out that Dr. Morris was a zoologist, not an anthropologist, and as such was making partially formed and unscientific speculations by defining man in purely zoological terms, because while man is an animal, he also stands apart from the animals in many ways. The film version of The Naked Ape is somewhere between a documentary and a series of anecdotes, which is to say that it's an odd film and very hard to watch. The scientific arguments are presented in a heavy-handed way.

A 1973 movie directed by Donald Driver — based on the book — was made starring Johnny Crawford and Victoria Principal. In 2006 an independent movie was made based loosely on the book, written and directed by Daniel Mellitz, starring Josh Wise, Chelse Swain, Sean Shanks, Amanda MacDonald, Tony LaThanh, Corbin Bernsen.

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