aggressive: (n. aggressiveness) Quick to fight or argue, or forceful in making efforts to succeed or win.
ancestor: A predecessor. It could be a family forebearer, such as a parent, grandparent or great-great-great grandparent. Or it could be a species, genus, family or other order of organisms from which some later one evolved. For instance, ancient dinosaurs are the ancestors of today’s birds. (antonym: descendant)
ape: A group of rather large primates, all of which lack a tail. They include gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans, gibbons and humans. Most people tend to group humans into their own separate subcategory owing to a number of special traits. These include a larger brain, greater mental abilities (including being able to talk) and their ability to walk on two legs.
behavior: The way something, often a person or other organism, acts towards others, or conducts itself.
DNA: (short for deoxyribonucleic acid) A long, double-stranded and spiral-shaped molecule inside most living cells that carries genetic instructions. It is built on a backbone of phosphorus, oxygen, and carbon atoms. In all living things, from plants and animals to microbes, these instructions tell cells which molecules to make.
endangered: An adjective used to describe species at risk of going extinct.
equator: An imaginary line around Earth that divides Earth into the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
evolution: (v. to evolve) A process by which species undergo changes over time, usually through genetic variation and natural selection. These changes usually result in a new type of organism better suited for its environment than the earlier type. The newer type is not necessarily more “advanced,” just better adapted to the particular conditions in which it developed. Or the term can refer to changes that occur as some natural progression within the non-living world (such as computer chips evolving to smaller devices which operate at an ever faster speed).
family: A taxonomic group consisting of at least one genus of organisms.
footage: (in movies and videos) A term for the uncut or unprocessed motion pictures or video imagery taken by a camera. It takes its name from the fact that it took several feet of film to capture a few seconds of motion-picture photography.
forest: An area of land covered mostly with trees and other woody plants.
groom: (in zoology) The practice of some animals to clean another, usually in places the groomed animal can’t see or reach, such as the back, head or face. Sometimes a groomer will remove ticks or other parasites. Other times it might remove tangles in fur or debris such as leaves. The attention the groomed animal receives can be calming and is usually accepted only from a family member or close member of its social group.
habitat: The area or natural environment in which an animal or plant normally lives, such as a desert, coral reef or freshwater lake. A habitat can be home to thousands of different species.
hominid: All modern and extinct great apes. Living examples include humans, chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans. The group also includes up to 19 species of prehistoric relatives of humans, such as Australopithecus, Paranthropus and Ardipithecus. The group has a lot of overlap with hominins. The difference: Hominins do not include currently living great apes other than humans.
insight: The ability to gain an accurate and deep understanding of a situation just by thinking about it, instead of working out a solution through experimentation.
species: A group of similar organisms capable of producing offspring that can survive and reproduce.
synesthesia: A brain condition in which a person connects a sensory experience to an unassociated symbol, as a letter or number.
wood: A porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the stems and roots of trees, shrubs and other woody plants.