Death + Biology Grief + Mourning

Chimpanzee Funeral?

Behind the Lens: The Grieving Chimps
Jeremy Berlin, National Geographic Blog Central (October 29, 2009)

Fast on the heels of debatably mourning magpies, I offer you the somewhat more definitive (pics and it happened!) chimpanzee funeral, where huddled, sad chimps appear to pay their last respects to their dead companion Dorothy.

Photograph by Monica Szczupider

Of course the “funeral” and burial part was enacted by humans. But the photo is touching and striking nonetheless. From the National Geographic blog:

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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