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Mark Peters

 

Being a man in this modern, metrosexual jungle can be daunting. We are constantly encouraged to be thoughtful, emotionally balanced partners, tender, caring and never ashamed to embrace our feminine sides; to be a man willing to venture into the perplexing world of grooming products, knock up a fancy salad dressing and enjoy nothing more than a really good hug. But then, when necessary, we're expected to suddenly transform into a protective, testosterone-fuelled beast, the kind of enigmatic man from days gone by who wouldn't think twice about arm wrestling a tiger and who could sport a moustache so lush it would make women buckle at the knees.

Yep, it's a tough ol' life for the average hetero male these days but, until we perfect our multiple-personality disorders I'm afraid we'll just have to struggle along with our neanderthal limitations and accept that, however much we enthuse over a rejuvenating face pack or a spicy hummus dip (and not confuse the two), we are still not that far removed from our primate predecessors.

Not only do humans share 98 per cent of our genetic code with our closest ape relatives, we also share some inherent instincts, and to prove this point, Ape Man (above; TVB Pearl, tomorrow at 9.35pm) takes an in-depth look at our extended family. Through scientific experiments, hidden camera footage and expert wildlife analysis, this three-part documentary series reveals everyday battles for power, territory and sex - squabbles that are as common among us as they are with our chimp cousins. From the bold strut and dominant posturing of chief executives and world leaders to our subconscious power struggles with strangers, tomorrow's episode, The Alpha Male, demonstrates how we are controlled by our primitive instincts and how, just like in the jungle, every relationship is a fight to become king of the swingers.

One social experiment throws together a group of alpha grease monkeys and analyses their instinctive desire for territory, dominance and status within the group. More interesting, though, is a humorous illustration of how we instantly become mute and submissive when confronted by a much larger challenger, even when he steals the pint of beer from right under our nose.

We may all be hardwired to compete for dominance but, when push comes to shove, are you content to be a subordinate cheeky monkey or are you the brutish gorilla, ready to join Stephen Hawking as he takes another step into the Brave New World (National Geographic Channel, tomorrow at 8pm)?

The first season saw the theoretical physicist, with the help of some of the world's leading scientists, showcase the search for humankind's next leap forward. Narrated by Hawking in his new "sexy" voice, it was staggering to see how some of the breakthroughs made in the science world were transforming our lives. Season two, with a new crack team of boffins, investigates more cutting-edge innovations, from a 3-D printer that can create human tissue to extraordinary fabric that mimics the adhesive ability of gecko feet.

It's simply mind-blowing - well, for this knuckle-dragging primate, at least.

 

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