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Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Pan thanatology
Author(s): Anderson, James
Gillies, Alasdair
Lock, Louise C
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Keywords: Chimpanzees behavior
Animal behavior Research
Chimpanzees Social aspects.
Issue Date: 27-Apr-2010
Date Deposited: 7-Apr-2011
Citation: Anderson J, Gillies A & Lock LC (2010) Pan thanatology. Current Biology, 20 (8), pp. R349-R351.
Abstract: Chimpanzees' immediate responses to the death of a group-member have rarely been described. Exceptions include maternal care towards dead infants, and frenzied excitement and alarm following the sudden, traumatic deaths of older individuals [1,2,3,4,5]. Some wild chimpanzees die in their night nest [6], but the immediate effect this has on others is totally unknown. Here, with supporting video material, we describe the peaceful demise of an elderly female in the midst of her group. Group responses include pre-death care of the female, close inspection and testing for signs of life at the moment of death, male aggression towards the corpse, all-night attendance by the deceased's adult daughter, cleaning the corpse, and later avoidance of the place where death occurred. Without death-related symbols or rituals, chimpanzees show several behaviours that recall human responses to the death of a close relative.
DOI Link: 10.1016/j.cub.2010.02.010
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