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I just wanna be like you-oo-oo! Remarkable images show monkeys building a fire, lighting it with match before toasting marshmallows


Picture a group of monkeys and you might imagine them swinging from trees, gathering bananas or perhaps squabbling over scraps of food.

But from toasting marshmallows on a camp fire to writing with paper and pen and flossing their teeth, these primates have found better ways to pass the time.

And here they are practising their remarkably human-like skills in a series of images that have never been seen before.

There’s Kanzi the Illinois-based bonobo, who orders picnics on a smartphone, using technology that would baffle even some humans.

He can also cook fry-ups on fires he has built, lighting piles of broken tree branches with a match.

And to satisfy a sweet tooth, the dexterous primate toasts even uses his homemade fire to toast marshmallows he has skewered on a twig.

Then there’s the orang-utan who has taught himself how to write, gripping a pen in the fist of his hand.

And resourceful long-tailed macaques in Thailand use human hairs plucked from tourists to floss between their teeth.


Tonight the monkeys will be seen in the first episode of a three-part documentary on BBC1 called Monkey Planet.

It will see zoologist and presenter Dr George McGavin travel the globe to seek out the most interesting primates in the wild.

Unlike some other species, many of them live in close knit communities, where they encounter situations that may be familiar to some humans.

Take the hierarchical system for hamadryas baboons in Ethiopia, for example, where the dictatorial males dictate over their packs.

And in Peru, male emperor tamarins are conned into childcare.

Much of their activities are governed by need – such as an elaborate alarm system South African vervet monkeys use to warn of predators.

But just like us humans, there’s room for fun in their lives as well, as proven by the primates cannon balling into a pool of water.


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