Researchers: Chimps deal with death like humans

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April 27, 2010 5:23:48 AM PDT
A study suggests chimpanzees react to the death of a group member just like humans behave when a close relative dies.

James Anderson, a lecturer in psychology at Scotland's University of Stirling, says rare video footage of a group of chimpanzees at a Scottish wildlife park shows the animals stroking and grooming a dying female.

Anderson says the video also shows three chimpanzees testing the female, Pansy, for signs of life at the moment of death. Pansy's daughter lay near her mother's body throughout the night, and all chimpanzees were subdued in the next few days.

Anderson says it was the first time researchers have been able to study the moment at which an adult chimpanzee dies in its group. The study will be published Tuesday in Current Biology.