Rare video footage taken at a wildlife park has showed that chimpanzees react to the death of a group member just like humans do when a close relative dies, researchers said on Monday.
Videos of a group of four chimpanzees at Scotland’s Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park showed three of the animals caressing and grooming the fourth, a dying female, more than usual, said James Anderson, a lecturer in psychology at Scotland’s University of Stirling.
The videos also showed that the three chimpanzees tested the elderly female, Pansy, for signs of life at the moment of death, Anderson said. Pansy’s daughter lay near her mother’s body throughout the night, and all the chimpanzees were subdued in the next few days.
“It’s the first time to our knowledge that people have been able to capture on video the precise moment at which an adult chimpanzee dies in the midst of his or her group,” said Anderson, who coauthored a study due to be published yesterday in the journal Current Biology.
Researchers have not been able to observe how chimpanzees react to death because in the wild a dying animal usually isolates itself and crawls into cover for protection, Anderson said. In zoos, sick animals are usually separated from the group and euthanized.
Staff at the Scottish park anticipated Pansy’s death and recorded the group’s behavior with overhead video cameras, which had been placed above the animals’ sleeping platforms for a previous study.
The three other chimps — all of whom had been living with Pansy as a group for more than 20 years — gathered around her and caressed her in the 10 minutes preceding her death.
When she died they inspected her mouth and lifted her head and shoulder to try to shake her into life, Anderson said.
The animals stopped grooming Pansy and left her after her death, although her daughter later came back to build a nest and lie by her all night long.
Alasdair Gillies, the head keeper at the park and coauthor of the study, said the animals were quieter than normal and lost their appetites after the death.
“We were careful to avoid anthropomorphism, but it became very difficult not to realize some of these things are strikingly similar to human responses to dying individuals,” Anderson said.
French authorities yesterday said that they would close a Paris mosque as part of a clampdown on radical Islam that has yielded over a dozen arrests following the beheading of a teacher who had shown his pupils a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed. The mosque in a densely populated suburb northeast of Paris had disseminated a video on its Facebook page days before Friday’s gruesome murder, railing against teacher Samuel Paty’s choice of material for a class discussion on freedom of expression, a source close to the investigation said. The French Ministry of the Interior said the mosque in Pantin, which has
LONGSTANDING NEUTRALITY: The US request came as it vied for influence in Southeast Asia with China, but Indonesia has never let foreign militaries operate there Indonesia this year rejected a proposal by the US to allow its P-8 Poseidon maritime surveillance planes to land and refuel there, four senior Indonesian officials familiar with the matter have said. US officials made multiple “high-level” approaches in July and August to Indonesia’s defense and foreign ministers before Indonesian President Joko Widodo rebuffed the request, the officials said. Representatives for Indonesia’s president and defense minister, the US Department of State’s Office of Press Relations and the US embassy in Jakarta did not respond to requests for comment. Representatives for the US Department of Defense and Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night said that he has no problem with being held responsible for the many killings under his crackdown on drugs, and that he is ready to face charges that could land him in jail, but not charges of crimes against humanity. Duterte’s televised remarks were among his clearest acknowledgement of the prospects that he could face a deluge of criminal charges for the bloody campaign he launched after taking office in the middle of 2016. Police have reported that at least 5,856 drug suspects have been killed in raids and more than 256,000 others arrested since
WEIGHING THE RISKS: One biogeochemist said that the known risks of disease from not sterilizing baby bottles outweighed that of microplastics Bottle-fed babies might ingest more than 1 million pieces of microplastics each day, new research showed on Monday, highlighting the abundance of plastics in our food products. There is growing evidence that humans consume huge numbers of the tiny particles, formed when larger pieces of plastic break down, but very little is known about the knock-on health consequences. Researchers in Ireland looked at the rate of microplastic release in 10 types of baby bottles or accessories made from polypropylene, the most commonly used plastic for food containers. They followed official guidelines from the WHO on sterilization and formula preparation conditions. Over a 21-day