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Do chimpanzees mourn their dead infants?

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posted on Aug, 17 2011 @ 10:30 PM
I hope this hasn't been posted before, I searched, but didn't find this particular one.

I came across this article from the Max Planck Institute recently. It concerns a study of a mother chimpanzee's reaction to the death of her infant.

For the first time, MPI researchers report in detail how a chimpanzee mother responds to the death of her infant. The chimpanzee mother shows behaviours not typically seen directed toward live infants, such as placing her fingers against the neck and laying the infant’s body on the ground to watch it from a distance. The observations of Katherine Cronin and Edwin van Leeuwen provide unique insights into how chimpanzees, one of humans’ closest primate relatives, learn about death. Their commentary appears online this week in the American Journal of Primatology.

Nearly nothing is known about how primates react to death of close individuals, what they understand about death, and whether they mourn. The MPI researchers therefore believe to have reported a unique transitional period as the mother learned about the death of her infant, a process never before reported in detail. But they largely refrain from interpretation, while providing extensive video to allow viewers the opportunity to judge for themselves what chimpanzees understand about death.

I'm including the video that is linked in the article.

I found the study interesting. Watching the video is touching and almost heart-wrenching. I don't think she understands what has happened to her baby. She seems to check several times for signs of life.

Do chimps mourn death?

I thought I'd share this here and get some reactions and opinions from the community.

posted on Aug, 17 2011 @ 10:53 PM
i saw a documentary about it once a long time ago, there was a female chimp with a dead infant and she carried it around with her for several days, refusing to let it go. i do think they mourn, just not in a "human" way, and have all the emotions that humans do. no i don't ascribe human intelligence to them. i have seen dogs do it too.
edit on 17-8-2011 by CaDreamer because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 17 2011 @ 11:07 PM
all life knows death when seen around them, in my opinion, do they mourn or show they care. a big yes.

saw a single crow land onto powerlines and get fried yesterday, soon the sky was filled with crows, all crying out, circling the spot as if out of respect for a fallen comrade, not only can death affect animals in feelings they show, but also as knowledge that gets passed on about where such a danger may lie.

I doubt there will be any more crows landing on this power line for a while. animals are not as stupid as some humans like to think.

posted on Aug, 17 2011 @ 11:26 PM

Originally posted by N3k9Ni

Thanks for the video OP.

Watching the video is touching and almost heart-wrenching.

Its broke my heart watching that, especially the mothers reaction around the 2min to 2min 10sec mark of the footage

I don't think she understands what has happened to her baby. She seems to check several times for signs of life.

I think she knows all to well what has happened to her child. ( 2min to 2min 10sec)
I think she displayed many human qualities in the way she acted. She checked her several times as any parent would do the same if it was their child, any human would. As you know that even when we are told a loved one has died we tend not to believe. I for one have sat around for hours waiting , hoping the impossible would happen and that life was still there.
So all i see in these primates, is some type of knowledge and understanding of death and understanding that IS human like. ( and these days i think the chimps acted more human than humans )

Do chimps mourn death?

Its obvious from the sad but beautiful footage you presented, that YES chimps do mourn death.

I thought I'd share this here and get some reactions and opinions from the community.

Thanks for sharing

edit on 17-8-2011 by meathed because: IM a meathed

posted on Aug, 18 2011 @ 07:04 AM

UNITED in what appears to be deep and profound grief, more than a dozen chimpanzees stand in silence as the body of one of their own is wheeled past. Read more:

I do think the mother on this occasion is confused but as stated above, it happens. We dont give animals the credit they deserve because we cant communicate verbally.
edit on 18/8/11 by Lucifer84 because: (no reason given)

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