WCS 3-Sentence Science
Gorilla in Mourning
January 9, 2020
Each year, Wildlife Conservation Society scientists publish more than 300 peer-reviewed studies and papers. “WCS 3-Sentence Science” is a regular tip-sheet — in bite sized helpings — of some of this published work.
Here we present work by WCS Congo’s Claudia Stephan on grieving behavior in western lowland gorillas.
- Researchers working in the Congo’s Nouabale Ndoki National Park provide observations on a wild, female western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla), who was observed to carry her dead infant for at least 16 days.
- While several observations of behaviors towards dead members of the same species are available for chimpanzees, reports on other great ape species are less frequent.
- Comparative observations in great apes and other nonhuman primates could reveal whether humans are unique in our ‘culturized’ ways to grieve.
Study and Journal: “Attached beyond death: Wild female western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) carries and cares for mummified infant” from African Journal of Ecology
WCS Co-Author(s): Claudia Stephan (Lead), WCS Congo Program
For more information, contact: Stephen Sautner, 718–220–3682, firstname.lastname@example.org.