Distributor:  Bullfrog Films
Length:  52 minutes
Date:  1998
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English
Grade level: 5-12, College, Adult
Color/BW:  Color
Closed captioning available
Interactive transcript available
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Baboon Tales

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Dr. Shirley Strum's new interpretation of baboon society.

Baboon Tales

Based on 26 years of fieldwork by anthropologist/primatologist Dr. Shirley Strum, BABOON TALES explores the complex world of a troop of Olive Baboons in Kenya. In sharp contrast to early theories of baboon behavior, which focused on male aggression, this program enables audiences to appreciate a society of masterful social strategists weaving a shifting web of relationships with family, friends and enemies. It may change your mind about what it means to be a baboon, and about what it means to be human.

To discover how baboons succeed in their society, BABOON TALES follows the real life adventures of five infants navigating their first year of a decade-long journey to adulthood, as the troop adapts to drought in East Africa.

'A beautifully filmed documentary with a story that is at once highly informative and emotionally compelling...The film bears the unique stamp of Dr. Strum's commitment and perspective gained during several decades of experience living and conducting research in Kenya.' Jeanne Altmann, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University.

'Why read Dr. Spock when you can get all the parenting tips you need from imitating the primates in BABOON TALES?' The Hollywood Reporter

'Viewers are taken directly into the 'troop' of baboons, yet the camera isn't
invasive in recording subtle expressions and gestures - a testament to the [filmmakers'] professionalism.' The Tampa Tribune

'[In] many wildlife documentaries...every 15 minutes there seems to be a life-and-death chase and a bloody kill. BABOON TALES offers something different. Different and estimable and fascinating.' Vue, New York Daily News

'An engaging portrait of creatures who, in many ways, are much like ourselves (butts notwithstanding). Recommended' Video Librarian

'Shows clear, concrete examples of many topics covered in comparative psychology courses, including social interaction, dominance hierarchies, socialization of young in species with a social living structure, juvenile apprenticeships, modulation of aggression, conflict and reconciliation, maintenance of social relationships, social alliances, temperament, maternal derivation of initial rank, and changes in social status with maturation...makes the harsh realities of life very tangible. I have used the film in class several times, and always get comments from several students about how deeply affected they were by the stories in the film.' Michael J. Renner, Department of Psychology, West Chester University


Best Conservation/Natural History Program, North American Outdoor Film/Video Awards
Gold Plaque, Chicago International Television Competition
Best Science and Natural History/ Animal Behavior Program, Latham Foundation's Search for Excellence Video Awards
DESIRABLE: California Instructional Technology Clearinghouse
Second Place, International Wildlife Film Festival
Bronze Plaque Award, Columbus International Film/Video Festival
Best Editing, Cinematography, Directing, Documentary Awards, British Columbia Leo Awards
Finalist, Animal Behavior Society Film Festival
Carnegie Wild Life Film Festival, Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Western Psychological Association Annual Convention


Main credits

Kovanic, Gillian Darling (film director)
McConnell, Amanda (screenwriter)
Martin, Bruce (screenwriter)
Close, Glenn (narrator)

Other credits

Cinematographer, Rudolf Kovanic; editor, Shelly Hamer; scientific advisor, Shirley Strum.

Distributor credits

Tamarin Productions

Tamarin Productions
Gillian Darling Kovanic
Written by Amanda McConnell and Bruce Martin
Narrated by Glenn Close

Docuseek2 subjects

Physical Anthropology
Social Psychology
Animal Behavior

Distributor subjects

African Studies
Animal Behavior/Communication
Life Science
Social Psychology


Shirley Strum, baboons, primates, animal behavior, Kenya,"Baboon Tales",Bullfrog Films

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