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[高三]Chimps may be mourners
作者:21ST    来源:21世纪学生英文报·高三版第392期    日期: 2010-05-28

词数 455 建议阅读时间 6分钟 教案和课件见网站 测试见7版

SOME chimpanzees (黑猩猩) seem to react like humans in the face of a fellow chimp’s death, two new studies have found. Chimps appear to comfort the dying, experience sadness at death and have trouble letting go.

In one study, researchers at the University of Stirling and at Blair Drummond Safari Park in Britain watched how three chimpanzees reacted as a fourth chimp, an elderly female named Pansy, sickened and died.

Park officials had separated Pansy from the other chimpanzees for treatment when she became ill in November 2008. But when her breathing became irregular a few weeks later, the other three chimps were allowed to join her.

In the 10 minutes before she died, the three animals – an elderly female named Blossom, Blossom’s adult son Chippy and Pansy’s adult daughter Rosie – frequently groomed (梳理毛发) and touched Pansy. They stood in close, and Chippy shook her arm, apparently testing for signs of life. When they got no reaction, “they appeared to arrive at a decision that something had changed, and she was no longer the same as she was beforehand,” said lead researcher James Anderson, from the University of Stirling. “It seems they are clearly able to distinguish the difference between being alive and unresponsive (无反应的).”

Soon, both Blossom and Chippy left Pansy’s side. Even though it was not her usual sleeping area, Rosie stayed and slept by her mother’s body almost the entire night.

Sixteen hours after Pansy’s death, zookeepers removed the body, with the three chimps watching quietly. For several days afterward, the group refused to make a nest at the area where Pansy had died.

In the second study, chimpanzee mothers were observed in the forests of Bossou, Guinea, after a disease had swept through a group of 19 chimpanzees, killing five, including two infants (婴儿). The mothers of those infants continued to carry the corpses (尸体) around, even as the bodies dried out. One mother carried her baby for 19 days; the other mother carried hers for 68 days.

“We have two explanations here – one is that there is a very strong bond (亲密关系) between chimpanzee mothers and chimpanzee infants,” said lead researcher Dora Biro, a biologist at the University of Oxford.

“Another possibility is that they were aware of the death and this was just their way of dealing with it,” Biro added, pointing to human inability (无能) to let go of objects that remind us of people we have lost.

Craig Stanford, a US expert, called the studies’ findings interesting, but said that although humans and chimpanzees shared similar emotions to some degree, it would be dangerous to extrapolate (推断) too much about chimps’ understanding of death.

关键词:高三 Chimps may be mourners



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