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Chimps may be aware of others’ deaths

Captive and wild apes react in intriguing ways to losing comrades

2:57pm, April 26, 2010

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Pansy the chimpanzee died surrounded by friends and family who cared for her as best they could and reacted to her demise with silent somberness. Pansy’s story, as well as those of two mothers unable to let go of their deceased infants, raises the possibility that chimpanzees know when a companion has died and realize that he or she will never return, two new studies report in the April 27 Current Biology.

“Chimpanzees may have greater awareness of the finality of death than has previously been believed,” says psychologist James Anderson of the University of Stirling in Scotland, who directed the study of Pansy’s death.

Pansy’s case provides the first glimpse of chimps&rsq
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