Results 1 to 3 of 3

Thread: How chimps mourn their dead

  1. #1
    Senior Member rdf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Someplace between Nowhere and Goodbye
    Posts
    12,961

    How chimps mourn their dead

    How chimps mourn their dead
    In a forest clearing in the far south-east of Guinea, a mother chimpanzee gently puts down her baby so that she can crack open a nut. There's something wrong with the apparently mundane scene, though: her baby is dead, and has been for weeks.

    The 1-year-old chimp, known as Jimato, died of flu when an epidemic struck a community of 19 chimps living in the district of Bossou in 2003. The virus also killed 2-and-a-half-year-old Veve. Both corpses were carried by their mothers for weeks.

    Such behaviour has been seen in primates before, but rarely. What's unusual in these cases is how long the mothers clung onto their young. In other accounts of corpse-carrying primates, the body has been snatched out of the mother's hands by rowdy males, or in wet conditions it has disintegrated within days. But the dead Jimato and Veve were carried for 68 and 19 days respectively before they were abandoned.

    Their bodies were effectively mummified by dry-season conditions. "They dried out and lost all of their hair, leaving most of the body parts, even the genitals, preserved in a layer of dry, leathery skin," says Dora Biro at the University of Oxford, who has co-authored a paper on the behaviour.

    Another new study looks at how a group of captive chimpanzees dealt with the death of an elderly female. Together, these episodes have given insights into how chimpanzees deal with death, and what finally causes the mothers to let go of their dead young.

    Pansy

    James Anderson, a psychologist at the University of Stirling, UK, has written about the death of Pansy, the captive, elderly female chimp. After Pansy's death, her daughter stayed beside her throughout the night. Then members of the chimp group cleaned the corpse and avoided the place where she died. Anderson says these may be "rituals" to cope with death.
    More
    Please donate a dollar a day at http://justadollarplease.org.
    Copy and paste this message to the bottom of your signature.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    After the Onion spoof about researchers teaching gorillas about grief (which I fell for totally) I kept waiting for the punchline here...

  3. #3
    that's totally heartbreaking...

Similar Threads

  1. What chimps can do better than humans
    By Wise Young in forum Science, Medicine, & Technology
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 08-06-2007, 03:32 PM
  2. chimps vs humans.
    By adi chicago in forum Science, Medicine, & Technology
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 01-31-2007, 03:19 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •