From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Monkey see, monkey grieve

(Photo by J. Patrick Fischer)
In our search for intelligent life out there in the galaxy, we sometimes miss what’s right here on Earth.

There is now plenty of evidence to suggest that humans are not the only ones to grieve their dying and dead companions.  Scientists have known for quite a while that “wild coyotes, elephants, dogs, red foxes, cats, crows and magpies” engage in “grieving ceremonies.”  

Snub-nosed monkeys have been recently added to this compassionate list.  Researchers from Kyoto University have observed a snub-nosed alpha male “apparently tending to his dying mate” in Shaanxi province, China.  He not only “gently touched her hand,” but also “warned the others to stay away.”  He then proceeded to groom her and “gaze at her.”

After she died, the male “remained with her for a further five minutes, touching her and pulling her hand, but to no avail.”  He then rejoined the troop, but continued “gazing back to where she lay.” 

When the troop returned to that spot the next day, she was gone.  Researchers had already buried her quite some distance away.  The alpha male sat “looking for her for at least two minutes before heading off with the rest of the group.”


Copyright May 25, 2016 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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