Heartbreaking photos show monkey grieving partner's passing

Heartbreaking Photos Show Monkey Grieving Partner's Passing
Heartbreaking Photos Show Monkey Grieving Partner's Passing

Grieving over a distressed or dead loved one doesn't appear to just be a human instinct.

SEE ALSO: Stray dog refuses to go with rescuers until friend is saved

In fact, a recently published study highlights an incident involving wild snub-nosed monkeys in Shaanxi, China, to show that "empathy and compassion surrounding death extend beyond humans and their closest evolutionary relatives."

According to New Scientist, a female primate was showing signs of ill-health.

The alpha male appeared to provide comfort by touching her hand and grooming her.

Related: See mischievous monkeys playing:

After she fell from a tree, she was tended to for nearly an hour by group members but ultimately died.

Though the troop left her, the alpha male could be seen looking back at her that day; her body was buried by a researcher soon thereafter, and the male appeared to look for her the next day when the group passed through the same area.

While one of the paper's authors—James Anderson with Kyoto University—believes primates can become bereaved, he also warns against anthropomorphizing them.

Other animals that have anecdotally shown signs of grieving include elephants, whales, and even parrots.

Originally published