Chimps too feel for their loved ones' death

Chimps bid calm farewell to their departed members

In one study, researchers describe the final hours and moment of death of an older female chimp living in a small group at a British safari park as captured on video. In the other, researchers observed as two chimpanzee mothers in the wild carried their infants’ mummified remains for a period of weeks after they were lost to a respiratory epidemic.
“Several phenomena have at one time or another been considered as setting humans apart from other species,” said James Anderson of the University of Stirling.“But science has provided strong evidence that the boundaries between us and other species are nowhere near to being as clearly defined as many people think,” he added .

Few have witnessed chimps’ response at the moment a member of their group dies, he said. Mother chimps  carry their dead infants and a commotion follows when an adult chimp is lost to some sort of sudden trauma.

“In contrast to the frenzied, noisy responses to traumatic adult deaths, the chimpanzees witnessing the female’s death in our case were mostly calm,” Anderson said. “In general, we found several similarities between the chimpanzees’ behaviour toward the dying female, and their behaviour after her death, and some reactions of humans when faced with the demise of an elderly group member,” he added.

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