Chimpanzee Mothers Carry the Mummified Remains of Their Dead Infants: Three Case Reports from Bossou

  • Dora Biro
Part of the Primatology Monographs book series


In the three decades of field research at Bossou, three infant chimpanzee deaths within the community have been confirmed through observation. In each of these cases, the mothers continued to carry the bodies of their dead infants for an extended period: from around 3 weeks to longer than 2 months, during which time the bodies mummified. Here I describe events leading up to the deaths, factors contributing to the mummification process, and the behavior of the mothers and other group members toward the corpses.


Live Infant Chimpanzee Infant Fellow Group Member Dead Infant Postpartum Amenorrhea 
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Several researchers contributed with field observations to the description of events herein: Tetsuro Matsuzawa, Tatyana Humle, Misato Hayashi, Claudia Sousa, Kathelijne Koops, Akino Watanabe, Yuu Mizuno, Gen Yamakoshi, and Gaku Ohashi. Local guides at Bossou offered invaluable help, in particular, Gilles Doré. The author thanks the Royal Society for financial support.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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