Not long ago, researchers from the U.K.’s University of St Andrews filmed an adult female chimp using a tool, in this case a piece of sturdy grass, to clean the teeth of her deceased, adopted son.
It is the first time such behavior has ever been observed and documented by science.
The team has since suggested that the grooming may have been a sort of mortuary ritual and could provide insights into how humans developed specific practices and rites for the dead.
According to Edwin van Leeuwen, the lead author of the study, the act also “indicates once more that the human species is not the only one capable of compassion.”
Researchers witnessed and recorded the event while at the Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage Trust in Zambia.
It is believed the young chimpanzee lost his life to an infection of the lungs.
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