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Chimpanzees Mourn Their Dead - Just Like Humans.

Updated on December 24, 2017

A Very Sad Day For All.

A Lot In Common.

We all know that man’s closest living relatives: chimpanzees are very intelligent animals. You only have to study their eyes and vast range of facial expressions to know there is a lot going on in their heads. They are so alike to humans that they share 98.5 per cent of their DNA with us.  You may or may not believe the theory of Charles Darwin, which makes the claim that we (as  Homo sapiens) actually evolved from them into our present state.

Recent studies have now revealed that they actually sense an impending death of a fellow chimp and also grieve the passing of a loved one, in much the same way as we do.


Stirling University researcher James Anderson observed the final days of Pansy, an elderly female chimp at Blair Drummond Safari Park in Scotland. He told how the group of chimps regularly groomed and caressed her and tested for signs of life by gently raising her head and shaking her shoulders. When she was very close to death, she somehow got herself into her daughter’s nest. Her daughter and a group of three other chimps then constantly groomed her and did all they could to try and comfort her.

It was just like humans would do with a close friend or relative. Then, after she died, the 3 chimps left the patch where she lay. Her eldest daughter however, remained with her. She lay down with her face almost touching her mother’s and stayed that way until the following morning. The other group members then made sure the body was clean and they also made a point of avoiding the area where she had died.

The chimps were badly affected by the death of Pansy:  For a solid month they had trouble sleeping and were constantly pestering the zoo keepers for attention.  It was clear that they were distraught and grieving for the loss of a loved one – just as a human would.

Jimato and Veve

In a separate study of chimpanzees carried out in the forest of Guinea, West Africa, two infant chimps: 1 year old Jimato, and 2 and a half year old Veve died after going down with a flu-like illness. Sara Biro, a researcher from Oxford University, England, observed how the mothers of the two dead youngsters continued treating them as though they were still alive, grooming them and carrying them wherever they went.

Over time, they gradually began to accept the awful truth and slowly spent more and more time away from the infants, letting the other young chimps handle the dead bodies for increasingly longer periods. It took a few weeks until they were able to cope with the sad loss of their offspring.

Very Strong Bond.

This behaviour revealed either one of two things: that mother chimpanzees are so attached to them that they initially refuse to accept the devastating loss of an infant, or that they may have been hoping they would recover.

Whatever the reason for their behaviour, it shows the intensity and strength of the bond that exists between mother chimps and their babies.

Both studies reveal just how remarkably similar chimpanzees are to humans in dealing with the death of a loved one. They most definitely possess emotions and powers of understanding that have long been considered exclusive to humans.


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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      The video made me cry.

      Amazing hub.

    • xxtonybxx profile image


      8 years ago from wales

      This is brilliant stuff. Loved it.

    • hurdlesgreetings profile image


      9 years ago

      Amazing Hub. THe pictures truly say it all. THank you so much for sharing. Voted up!

    • thephilosopher899 profile image


      9 years ago

      Truly an amazing hub...shed a tear.

    • SELL MY ART profile image

      SELL MY ART 

      9 years ago from Ireland

      Wonderful hub

    • ltfawkes profile image


      9 years ago from NE Ohio

      Nice hub. So much more goes on in all animals's minds than we know. Terrific photos. Thanks.


    • Phil.S profile image


      9 years ago

      Great hub and pics, animals are so surprising, although with their relationship to us, chimps are not so far removed.

    • flinchwymer profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from West Yorkshire U.K.

      Thank you Ladyjane and OutdoorsDog for your kind comments. If only all humans shared your compassion towards animals (and each other)

    • TheOutdoorsDog profile image


      9 years ago

      A superb read, thank you and the photos say it all. Awful that we as human beings, knowing their intelligence, place these beautiful animals in zoos.

    • ladyjane1 profile image


      9 years ago from Texas

      This is an awesome read. I remember once being at the zoo in San Diego and there were a lot of people looking at the monkeys and there was this mother and baby monkey and I guess the baby was trying to sleep and there were so many people staring at them that the mother monkey placed some leaves over the baby almost as if she didn't want the people to disturb the baby's sleep and she didnt much care for them staring. I found this to be so very human myself. Thanks for sharing this, it was sad and uplifting as well. I have always seen something in the eyes of animals as well. Cheers and great job.

    • flinchwymer profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from West Yorkshire U.K.

      Thanks very much, jacobkuttyta.

    • jacobkuttyta profile image

      Siny J 

      9 years ago from Delhi, India

      Nice hub with good pictures.


    • vox vocis profile image


      9 years ago

      Nice to have read this hub! The information you provided here doesn´t surprise me, but what amazed me was my friend telling me that chimpanzees practice oral sex. I didn´t believe him until he showed me a video clip on the net. Well, what can I say...surprise, surprise! Anyway, they are very intelligent animals! I like the pictures in this hub, too!

    • flinchwymer profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from West Yorkshire U.K.

      Thanks for your brief but positive comment, Wrath.

      Of course you're right, justmesuzanne. I worded it wrongly. Thanks very much.

    • justmesuzanne profile image


      9 years ago from Texas

      Very nice Hub. Darwin's theory is actually that we share a common ancestor with apes, not that we evolved from them! :)

    • Wrath Warbone profile image

      Terry Chestnutt 

      9 years ago from Cleveland, Ohio


    • flinchwymer profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from West Yorkshire U.K.

      Thanks very much Elayne, glad you liked it.

      I'm very pleased you approve, Pamela. Thank you.

      I appreciate your encouraging words, Markbennis. I just need to find (or make) time to write some more.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      What a beautiful hub and fantastic photos you had captured of the whole inspiring nature of the Chimpanzees. Welcome to hubpages, your a natural.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      9 years ago from Sunny Florida

      This was a fantastic hub with great information and I loved the pictures. Excellent job.

    • elayne001 profile image


      9 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      I always love seeing stories about chimpanzees. They are inspirational and humanlike. Congrats on your nomination. Well written. Aloha!

    • flinchwymer profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from West Yorkshire U.K.

      That's great ripplemaker. Thanks very much. I'll check that out now.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      9 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Aaaawwwwww it's so cute and heartwarming. It's no wonder that the Hubnuggets team picked your hub for the HUBNUGGETS! Yes, your hub has been nominated! Please (why wait) jump into the Hubnuggets Lair and vote and see your hub nomination by clicking on this link Congratulations and best of luck. Be sure to vote and promote! The more votes the more chances of winning and being featured in the Hubpages newsletter!

    • flinchwymer profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from West Yorkshire U.K.

      I appreciate your comment and your rate up, Jamie. Thanks very much.

    • Jamiehousehusband profile image


      9 years ago from Derbyshire, UK

      Very interesting hub, such evocative photos - I think there's no doubt about their emotions, thanks for sharing - I rated up too.

    • flinchwymer profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from West Yorkshire U.K.

      Thanks for the rate up hubpageswriter. Glad you approve.

      I agree about the dolphins Saddlerider1 - they're also highly intelligent. Thank you for the encouraging comment and the rate up.

    • saddlerider1 profile image


      9 years ago

      Flinch thanks for the share I always felt in my heart that the chimp and humans were closely connected and this just takes it one more step closer to the truth. Great post and video I very much enjoyed it and looking forward to more. I rate it a BIG UP and by the way the Dolphin is a very close second.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Rated up. This is a very well written hub. I do agree that certain animals behavior are just like us humans, and that includes the chimpanzees.

    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 

      9 years ago from Tucson, Az

      wonderful hub flinchymer!!! I follow Mggs, therefore now i am watching for more great hubs fromyou

      hello maggie and love to you and to flinchmyer too!!!

    • flinchwymer profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from West Yorkshire U.K.

      Thanks for that info, maggs. I'll have a look at that hub.

    • maggs224 profile image


      9 years ago from Sunny Spain

      If you are interested in Chimpanzees then the hubber Aya Katz is someone you should go and have a look at. Aya is fantastic and she has a chimpanzee named bow that she is raising. This hub will tell you all about it I think that you will find it fascinating reading.

    • flinchwymer profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from West Yorkshire U.K.

      Hi maggs. High praise indeed! Much appreciated. I'm very grateful for the rate up and feel honoured to have you as a fan.

      Hello cheryl. I'm a great fan of all apes, but chimpanzees have that something extra, don't they? I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and thank you for your generous comment.

    • _cheryl_ profile image


      9 years ago from California

      This is so interesting to learn of their ways of reacting towards the death of their loved one. The photos are so amazing and speak so much through their facial expressions. These animals always tug at my heart, thanks for a great informative hub!

    • maggs224 profile image


      9 years ago from Sunny Spain

      I have enjoyed reading this hub very much and the video that you included was excellent and really added to the hub. You have won yourself a fan and I rated this up, well done this is an excellent hub.

    • flinchwymer profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from West Yorkshire U.K.

      Hi Green. Thank you very much for the rate up and the encouraging words.

      Hello jayjay. Chimps are amazing creatures aren't they? Very generous comment, thank you.

    • jayjay40 profile image


      9 years ago from Bristol England

      What a wonderful hub, that first picture was so moving and the video of Dorothy brought tears to my eyes. Great writing.

    • Green Lotus profile image


      9 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      I loved this hub and look forward to reading more of your work. Rated up flinch!

    • flinchwymer profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from West Yorkshire U.K.

      That's a great comment - very much appreciated. Thank you.

    • thevoice profile image


      9 years ago from carthage ill

      amazing beautiful hub five star read great write thanks


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