How gorillas say goodbye to the deceased
Scientists have managed to photograph as the animals gather around the dead relatives.
5 April 2019 at 20:51
I think the only people able to grieve for the dead? Far from it: in the world of fauna there are many examples – such as elephants and orcas mourn their relatives. The list of animals with the remarkable “burial rites” including gorillas.
Scientists from Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, watching several groups of African gorillas, recorded their reactions to the death of relatives: a 35-year-old dominant male named Titus (Titus) and 38-year-old dominant females of the Eastern subspecies of mountain gorilla (lat. Gorilla beringei beringei) named So (Tuck). Both individuals died a few hours before the time of the observation due to age-related diseases. And in another case, the Eastern lowland gorillas (lat. Gorilla b. Graueri) found the body of a stranger – a male gorilla of their subspecies, are not part of their group.
A primatologia believed that the rituals will be different: the familiar and the more dominant individuals should be given greater deference than a stranger to the deceased. Suspicions confirmed only partly. Surprisingly, in all three cases, the behavior toward the dead was the same: the animals were located around the deceased, looking at him, sniffed, touched, combed and licked. Some showed signs of aggression threw the grass or kicking the body.
However, the time allotted for the ritual of farewell is directly dependent on acquaintance with the deceased. In particular, young male, who after the death of his mother brought Titus, stayed with him for two days and even slept next. And the son of the deceased females took care of her body and even tried to suck the breast, although for a long time was excommunicated. Scientists have no doubt that this indicates his strong feelings.
Meanwhile, the presence of rituals not only allows you to learn more about the behavior of gorillas – it’s makes to sound the alarm. If gorillas honor each of the deceased – they become spreaders of disease. Contacts between healthy individuals and infected bodies can be one of the main ways of transmission of Ebola and other dangerous diseases, killing animals and people.