I'm always on the lookout for interesting animation reference, and during a trip to the zoo a couple weeks back, I picked up a DVD titled Why Dogs Smile and Chimpanzees Cry. Originally airing on TV back in 1999, this two-part documentary shows some really fascinating examples of animals displaying emotions that many of us often see as exclusively human. Because animation is such an emotional experience (more on this in a later post), and because animals are frequently chosen as characters in animated films, it's great to see specific examples of how emotions are conveyed and expressed by different types of animals.
One of my favorite scenes is in the section about the mother-child bond, and features a mother dolphin scolding one of her offspring after a close call with a boat. Following the scolding, the mother and child then swim off, with the mother gently touching the young one's flipper with her own, which is described as being a sort of dolphin equivalent of holding hands. It's the whole "I still love you" thing after getting a serious tongue-lashing. Great stuff!
Considering that it's six years old, and the DVD only contains about 100 minutes of video (plus a bunch of still-screen extras if you feel like reading), the retail price seems a tad on the high side. Keep your eyes open for a used copy somewhere, and snag it when you can!