Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pictures: Gorilla Mother "Mourns" Dead Baby

Pictures: Gorilla Mother "Mourns" Dead Baby

Young gorillas and adult females gather around Ruzuzi and her dead baby in an act of apparent sympathy or possibly even ceremony in April. Sometimes, the family members made soft, crying noises, ranger Mburanumwe said.

At times, he said, "it was like they were trying to see if the baby could get up."

Scientists generally resist the temptation to project human emotions on animals.

But watching the gorillas care for the dead baby, Mburanumwe said, he felt it was impossible to not draw similarities with people. "They were like human beings."

The death of a baby may hit gorillas particularly hard, ranger Mburanumwe said. Female With a long gestation period and a high infant mortality rate, mountain gorillas successfully rear an infant only about every six to eight years.

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