Chimpanzees Feel Death Like People - Are Even More Like Humans Than We Think

chimps playing photo

The opposite emotions to those felt after death here... photo: Shiny Things via flickr.

One more piece of evidence that chimpanzees are far more like humans than we tend to, and probably want to, admit: BBC News reports scientists in Scotland and others from Oxford University have documented behavior which suggests chimpanzees emotionally feel death much like humans do.


Head over to the BBC link above for the actual video...

In the first case, the behavior of chimps after the death of terminally ill 50 year old female chimp at a Scottish safari park was documented with video cameras. Her friends and family became lethargic leading up to the death and stayed with her, grooming her in the final moments. After she died, her daughter stayed near the body, even though she had never slept nearby before.

In the second, also documented on video, mothers of dead chimps carried around and defended the bodies of their dead, and later naturally mummified, offspring for over two months.

Boundaries Between Humans and Animals Not As Clearly Defined
James Anderson, who led the first study:

Several phenomena have at one time or another been considered as setting humans apart from other species: Reasoning ability, language ability, tool use, cultural variation, and self-awareness, for example. But science has provided strong evidence that the boundaries between us and other species are nowhere near to being as clearly defined as people used to think.

It's Time for Extending Human Rights...
The natural extension of this is, if chimps are better than 99% the same as humans biologically, have greater cognitive ability than previously thought, and now also have emotionally-similar grieving to humans, how can we justify testing products on them without consent? How can we keep them in conditions that are less comfortable than we ourselves would stay in? Really, shouldn't we be talking about extending what we no call human rights to at least some non-human animals?

Like this? Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

More on the Chimps:
Chimpanzees Even Smarter Than We Thought - Can Mentally Measure Pouring Liquid's Volume
When This Happens To Humans It's Called Genocide: West African Chimpanzee Population Shows Dramatic Declines
Great Apes Granted 'Human Rights' by Spanish Parliament

Related Content on