Primate mothers who suffer the death of an infant grieve by carrying the corpse with them — sometime for months after the tragedy — a study has concluded.
Experts led from University College London (UCL) analysed data on 409 reports of primate mothers reacting to the death of their child, from across 50 species.
‘Infant corpse carrying‘ behaviour has been witnessed in 80 per cent of the species in the study — most prominently among the great apes and Old World monkeys.
These species are also more likely to carry their deceased young for longer periods.
While scientists have debated the extent to which primates are aware of death, the findings suggest that primate mothers are — or at least can learn about it over time.