martes, 27 de abril de 2010

How Chimps Deal with Death

This Associated Press article reports on the recent death of a chimpanzee in a London wildlife park and the reaction of its relatives and friends. Many of the actions taken and emotions expressed are quite similar to those of humans, further showing our close relationships with these animals. Some examples of these similarities are:

-- Comforting the dying chimpanzee with physical contact such as grooming, especially in the last 10 minutes of the animal's life.
-- Immediately after death, the three chimpanzees surrounding her checked for signs of life by shaking her and opening her mouth.
-- Two of the chimpanzees left her immediately after death, while her daughter stayed with her throughout the night.
-- The surviving chimpanzees lost appetite and had little energy the next few days.

According to the article, it is quite rare to see this reaction as most chimpanzees leave to find cover and protection before death, and animals in zoos are usually separated from the others when sick. Thus, while the sample size is clearly very small, I found it interesting to see that other animals also have a strong emotional attachment with relatives and friends, and they show this in similar ways.

The full article along with some video can be found here:


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