an international team of scientists for 13 years, watched the primates of the species of the bear, the baboon, or the chakma, who live in the wild in Namibia. They generally live in mixed groups of 20 to 100 individuals.
During the period of observations, the team documented 12 deaths of the young of these animals, including one miscarriage and two stillbirths. Researchers were interested in the reaction of females to the loss of the offspring.
the Spectacle was a sad and touching. Females never left the dead cubs with an average of three to four days (sometimes up to ten days). They wore them on his hands and even took care of them, for example, I tried to clean the mouths.
After the death of the cub, the female chakma can conduct with his body from one hour to ten days.Photo by Alecia Carter, UCL.
There are several hypotheses explaining the reaction of the primates to death of the offspring. As told in the press release, lead author alisha Carter (Alecia Carter) from University College London, “the hypothesis of social relations” suggests that the connection between mother and baby is so strong that to break them is very difficult.
According to another version, “the hypothesis of the management of grief”, females do not immediately break up with the dead babies because it is easier to survive the loss.
there is Also a “hypothesis unawareness,” which suggests that mothers do not have enough cognitive capacity to distinguish between the dead and the living, but ignores her cubs.
the Most convincing team seem to be the first two releases, but the third is not tenable. A new study found that female baboons bear different appeal to the living and died young, even if the first is sick or apathetic.
So, the dead babies, the females often wear at the extremities or dragged on the ground, which I never do with a live offspring.
this Work help to better understand behaviors and social ties among our distant relatives.Photo by Alecia Carter, UCL.
While the researchers can’t explain why some mothers do not leave the dead calves. Probably, this behavior is influenced by a number of factors, including the age of the female, the cause of death of baby and even climatic conditions.
“Other primates carry their dead babies for a much longer period of time: chimpanzees and Japanese macaques, for example, more than a month. However, the chakma baboons traveling long distances during the day, and the conditions in the desert severe, so mothers are not easy to carry dead young for a long time,” explains Carter.
According to experts, males chakma, as a rule, also pay attention to their young, protecting them from threats and attacks, and sometimes share food.
As it turned out, in rare cases, this behavior persists after death “successor”. So, scientists have observed that the most likely fathers of the dead babies protect them by threatening the approaching individuals. And in one case the male fingered the wool of a dead baby, when the female temporarily left his body.
Article with a detailed description of this study published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.
by the Way, earlier “Conduct.Science” (nauka.vesti.ru) talked about the fact that chimpanzees cleanse the bodies of dead relatives, and monkeys-tamarins are mourning the dying of the partners.