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Old 10-27-2009, 12:20 AM   #1
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Grieving Chimps - Interesting Photo and Article

I thought this was worthwhile to share. I'm sure there will be some cries of Anthropomorphizing, but this at least raises some interesting questions.

Is this haunting picture proof that chimps really DO grieve? | Mail Online


Edit: I'm a complete tool. Can someone change that to read CHIMPS not monkeys I'd be all over someone for making that mistake
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Old 10-27-2009, 01:23 AM   #2
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Hmmm, I didn't realize that grief was considered all that sophisticated an emotion? I guess maybe if you're assuming it entails ritualistic mourning behavior, contemplations of mortality etc., then it could seem that way. But personally, I've always taken it for granted that animals often suffer emotionally from the loss of relatives, fellow pack/herd members etc., to whom they had longstanding social attachments. One of our cats certainly appeared to be grieving for a couple days when our 18-year-old dog, whom she'd known her whole life and who'd always seemed to be her favorite playmate, died last summer--I really wouldn't know how else to describe her behavior. Of course, I can't know for sure that she really experienced something resembling 'recognition of death' as we'd understand that, but certainly her agitation, repeated trips to check the spot where he'd always slept, etc., didn't appear arbitrary, and she'd never acted like that on the many occasions where he'd been away at the kennel or the vet's for a few days before.
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Old 10-27-2009, 06:05 AM   #3
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I've had enough animals over the years to have seen several instances of what I believe to be grief. We had a couple of dogs -- a little mutt named Cricket and an Alaskan Malamute named Rolf -- that were best buddies. They spent hours every day exploring the fields and woods around the house. When Rolf died, Cricket was inconsolable. A day after Rolfie died she was in one of the fields and she would walk a little way, stop, bark the bark she did when she wanted Rolf to come to her aid (Rolf was her protector), and wait for him. He would always come running to her when she did that, so I think she was hoping he would this time too. But, of course, he didn't come, so she walked a bit further and repeated the barking and waiting. She did that several more times before she finally gave up. I never saw her do it again. After that she retreated to the house and refused to eat and just curled up in the bedroom shivering and whimpering. I was pretty sure she was mourning, but it went on for days, so we had the vet check her out. She was physically fine -- just heartbroken.

We got her (and us) a new puppy (Bailey, a Great Pyrenees), and she did have a great time with him. She was never as close to Bailey as she was to Rolf, but she did love him. Come to think of it, Cricket out-lived Bailey too, and died a few months after he did.
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Old 10-27-2009, 06:47 AM   #4
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I think what struck me the most was how human the Chimp grief was reported to be. I mean, standing in silence with arms around one another is pretty human like. I must say though, it was the picture that I really wanted to share. I thought it was quite touching.

No more stories about pet dogs
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Old 10-27-2009, 08:06 AM   #5
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In a thread not too long ago about animal testing in medicine, I posted an article about research indicating the potential for animals' (not just chimps) capacity for emotion. It does raise interesting questions.

I'll spare you my own cats & dogs stories.
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Old 10-27-2009, 08:10 AM   #6
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very very fascinating, that picture was quite emotive, jt. who knows the answer, and we may never know.

your stories are sad !
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Old 10-27-2009, 12:13 PM   #7
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That's a beautiful picture
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Old 10-27-2009, 03:36 PM   #8
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They look hungry to me.
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Old 10-27-2009, 06:15 PM   #9
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Why can't dogs, cats or chimps share certain human emotions? We're all mammals and closely related. I could share similar stories to what others have. To suggest that intelligent mammals couldn't understand death or loss and exhibit physical and emotional reactions is foolish in my opinion. Such an evolutionary advantage in caring for others couldn't be restricted to just our species.
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Old 10-27-2009, 06:38 PM   #10
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I didn't realize there was debate over this topic (and that picture is heart-breaking). At our local zoo, one primate's (can't remember exactly what species) mate had passed away years ago, and they had to give her a television in order for her to cope with the loss, as the species was one that mates for life.
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Old 10-27-2009, 06:58 PM   #11
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1. Animals of many kinds most certainly do grieve.

2. I think some slight anthropomorphising is (just) allowable in the case of chimps. They are very, very, very close to us on the evolutionary scale. I'm sure they don't conceptualise things just as we do, but would wager their emotional terrain is fairly familiar.


I read something even more striking once about young elephants carrying out cross generational vengeance against human communities responsible for killing their parents. Years after the fact. This would have been in a section of Africa. I think it was Wikipedia and make no claim to the anecdote's accuracy.
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Old 10-27-2009, 08:06 PM   #12
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They think elephants have a decent understanding of death. They grieve, or at least make calls that seem unique to a death in the herd and act physically in a way we'd associate with sadness, and then months later during a return migration will often go out of their way to return to the specific spot where one of the herd previously died, with perhaps still a skeleton visible, and seem to go through a kind of ritual (or are at least a clear change in mood/emotion) before moving on again.
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Old 10-28-2009, 01:30 AM   #13
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And yet all the Hallmark monkeys in the world picking away at typewriters all their lives would never compose a "Sorry to hear about your loss" sympathy card.
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Old 10-28-2009, 02:55 AM   #14
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Who knows, maybe they will be blessed with typing ability in "monkey heaven"?
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Old 10-28-2009, 03:11 AM   #15
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Well, nobody said they could type. Nonetheless, chimpanzees are very close to us, and their emotions are hardly a closed book. That is not the same thing as saying they are human.
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Old 10-28-2009, 03:29 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by INDY500 View Post
And yet all the Hallmark monkeys in the world picking away at typewriters all their lives would never compose a "Sorry to hear about your loss" sympathy card.
No, but one could teach another to say it in sign language. Thats pretty fucking impressive
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Old 10-28-2009, 06:01 AM   #17
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And yet all the Hallmark monkeys in the world picking away at typewriters all their lives would never compose a "Sorry to hear about your loss" sympathy card.
but we're not talking about monkeys, are we
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Old 10-28-2009, 08:32 AM   #18
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Animals can tell right from wrong - Telegraph

Scientists studying animal behaviour believe they have growing evidence that species ranging from mice to primates are governed by moral codes of conduct in the same way as humans.

Until recently, humans were thought to be the only species to experience complex emotions and have a sense of morality.

But Prof Marc Bekoff, an ecologist at University of Colorado, Boulder, believes that morals are "hard-wired" into the brains of all mammals and provide the "social glue" that allow often aggressive and competitive animals to live together in groups.

He has compiled evidence from around the world that shows how different species of animals appear to have an innate sense of fairness, display empathy and help other animals that are in distress.

His conclusions will provide ammunition for animal welfare groups pushing to have animals treated more humanely, but some experts are sceptical about the extent to which animals can experience complex emotions and social responsibility.

Prof Bekoff, who presents his case in a new book Wild Justice, said: "The belief that humans have morality and animals don't is a long-standing assumption, but there is a growing amount of evidence that is showing us that this simply cannot be the case.

"Just as in humans, the moral nuances of a particular culture or group will be different from another, but they are certainly there. Moral codes are species specific, so they can be difficult to compare with each other or with humans."

Prof Bekoff believes morals developed in animals to help regulate behaviour in social groups of animals such as wolves and primates.

He claims that these rules help to control fighting within the group and encourage co-operative behaviour.

Recent neurology work has also revealed that distantly related mammals such as whales and dolphins have the same structures in their brains that are thought to be responsible for empathy in humans.

Other findings have also suggested that some animals may even be capable of showing empathy with the suffering of other species.

Prof Bekoff, who co-wrote the book with moral philosopher Jessica Pierce, also from the University of Colorado, added: "There are cases of dolphins helping humans to escape from sharks and elephants that have helped antelope escape from enclosures.

"While it is difficult to know for certain that there is cross species empathy, it is hard to argue against it."

His ideas have met with some controversy in the scientific community, but many admit it is difficult to argue that animals do not share many of the psychological qualities previously only attributed to humans.

Professor Frans de Waal, a primate behaviourist at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, said: "I don't believe animals are moral in the sense we humans are – with well developed and reasoned sense of right and wrong – rather that human morality incorporates a set of psychological tendencies and capacities such as empathy, reciprocity, a desire for co-operation and harmony that are older than our species.

"Human morality was not formed from scratch, but grew out of our primate psychology. Primate psychology has ancient roots, and I agree that other animals show many of the same tendencies and have an intense sociality."


WOLVES

Wolves live in tight-knit social groups that are regulated by strict rules. If a pack grows too large, members are not able to bond closely enough and the pack disintegrates. Wolves also demonstrate fairness.

During play, dominant wolves will "handicap" themselves by engaging in roll reversal with lower ranking wolves, showing submission and allowing them to bite, provided it is not too hard.

Prof Bekoff argues that without a moral code governing their actions, this kind of behaviour would not be possible. If an animal bites too hard, it will initiate a "play bow" to ask forgiveness before play resumes.


COYOTES

In other members of the dog family, play is controlled by similar rules. Among coyotes, cubs which bite too hard are ostracised by the rest of the group and often end up having to leave entirely.

"We looked at the mortality of these young animals who disperse from the group and they have four to five times higher mortality," said Bekoff.

Experiments with domestic dogs, where one animal was given a treat and another denied, have shown that they posses a sense of fairness as they shared their treats.


ELEPHANTS

Elephants are intensely sociable and emotional animals. Research by Iain Douglas Hamilton, from the department of zoology at Oxford University, suggests elephants experience compassion and has found evidence of elephants helping injured or ill members of their herd.

In one case, a Matriarch known as Eleanor fell ill and a female in the herd gently tried to help Eleanor back to her feet, staying with her before she died.

In 2003, a herd of 11 elephants rescued antelope who were being held inside an enclosure in KwaZula-Natal, South Africa.

The matriarch unfastened all of the metal latches holding the gates closed and swung the entrance open allowing the antelope to escape.

This is thought to be a rare example of animals showing empathy for members of another species – a trait previously thought to be the exclusive preserve of mankind.


DIANA MONKEYS

A laboratory experiment trained Diana monkeys to insert a token into a slot to obtain food.

A male who had grown to be adept at the task was found to be helping the oldest female who had not been able to learn how to insert the token.

On three occasion the male monkey picked up tokens she dropped and inserted them into the slot and allowed her to have the food.

As there was no benefit for the male monkey, Prof Bekoff argues that this is a clear example of an animal's actions being driven by some internal moral compass.


CHIMPANZEES

Known to be among the most cognitively advanced of the great apes and our closest cousin, it is perhaps not surprising that scientists should suggest they live by moral codes.

A chimpanzee known as Knuckles – from the Centre for Great Apes in Florida – is the only known captive chimpanzee to suffer from cerebral palsy, which leaves him physically and mentally handicapped.

Scientists have found that other chimpanzees in his group treat him differently and he is rarely subjected to intimidating displays of aggression from older males.

Chimpanzees also demonstrate a sense of justice and those who deviate from the code of conduct of a group are set upon by other members as punishment.


RODENTS

Experiments with rats have shown that they will not take food if they know their actions will cause pain to another rat. In lab tests, rats were given food which then caused a second group of rats to receive an electric shock.

The rats with the food stopped eating rather than see another rat receive a shock. Similarly, mice react more strongly to pain when they have seen another mouse in pain.

Recent research from Switzerland also showed that rats will help a rat, to which it is not related, to obtain food if they themselves have benefited from the charity of others. This reciprocity was thought to be restricted to primates.


BATS

Vampire bats need to drink blood every night but it is common for some not to find any food. Those who are successful in foraging for blood will share their meal with bats who are not successful.

They are more likely to share with bats who had previously shared with them. Prof Bekoff believes this reciprocity is a result of a sense of affiliation that binds groups of animals together.

Some studies have shown that animals experience hormonal changes that lead them to "crave" social interaction.

Biologists have also observed a female Rodrigues fruit-eating bat in Gainesville, Florida, helping another female to give birth by showing the pregnant female the correct birthing position – with head up and feed down.


WHALES

Whales have been found to have spindle cells in their brains. These very large and specialised cells were thought to be restricted to humans and other great apes and appear to play a role in empathy and understanding the feelings of others.

Humpback whales, fin whales, killer whales and sperm whales have all been found to have spindle cells in the same areas of their brains.

They also have three times as many spindle cells compared to humans and are thought to be older in evolutionary terms.

This finding has suggested that complex emotional judgements such as empathy may have evolved considerably earlier in history than previously thought and could be widespread in the animal kingdom.
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Old 10-28-2009, 10:44 AM   #19
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And yet all the Hallmark monkeys in the world picking away at typewriters all their lives would never compose a "Sorry to hear about your loss" sympathy card.
Because those cards really mean a lot. I'd give much more credit to a chimp putting his hand on my back in sympathy than a typed up generic "So I hear someone you like died! Here's a $2 card to show how much I care!"
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Old 10-28-2009, 06:33 PM   #20
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^Yes. And the chimps are probably more sincere than some of those people are.

More info from National Geographic

NGM Blog Central - The Story Behind Our Photo of Grieving Chimps - National Geographic Magazine - NGM.com

After a hunter killed her mother, Dorothy was sold as a “mascot” to an amusement park in Cameroon. For the next 25 years she was tethered to the ground by a chain around her neck, taunted, teased, and taught to drink beer and smoke cigarettes for sport. In May 2000 Dorothy—obese from poor diet and lack of exercise—was rescued and relocated along with ten other primates. As her health improved, her deep kindness surfaced. She mothered an orphaned chimp named Bouboule and became a close friend to many others, including Jacky, the group’s alpha male, and Nama, another amusement-park refugee.

Szczupider, who had been a volunteer at the center, told me: “Her presence, and loss, was palpable, and resonated throughout the group. The management at Sanaga-Yong opted to let Dorothy's chimpanzee family witness her burial, so that perhaps they would understand, in their own capacity, that Dorothy would not return. Some chimps displayed aggression while others barked in frustration. But perhaps the most stunning reaction was a recurring, almost tangible silence. If one knows chimpanzees, then one knows that [they] are not [usually] silent creatures."
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