Science has long believed that among all the world’s primates, only humans possess the rare and defining capacity of vocal learning. This is the ability to produce vocalisations by copying, learning and modifying sounds that can communicate ideas to a fellow member of the same species.
Why is it that our closest relatives in the animal kingdom, monkeys and apes, never developed this capability? Breakthrough research from West Africa and Japan suggests that certain monkey species may indeed share our innate ability of vocal learning.
In this film we travel to the most isolated forests in China and follow a respected team of international scientists as they track and record the vocalisations of one of the rarest monkeys in the world, the Golden Snub-Nosed Monkey. It lives within a surprisingly complex society and is thought to possess the largest known repertoire of vocalisations among all non-human primates.
It is through this continued research that we may be brought one step closer to answering the age-old question – can monkeys talk?