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Monkeys Grieve Robotic Monkey Thinking It’s a Dead Baby

monkeys grieve robotic monkey

A troop of langur monkeys recently mistook a motionless robotic Spy Langur Monkey for a lifeless baby langur, prompting a period of communal grieving. It’s impossible to deny how similar their ritual is to a human funeral.

Monkeys Grieve Robotic Monkey: Footage from the ‘Funeral’

A robotic monkey has been placed in a troop of langur monkeys and they’re all taking a keen interest. One monkey, supposedly a mother, picks it up, believing it needs babysitting. In doing so, she drops it to the ground and when finding it lifeless (because it’s a robot) on the floor she thinks the ‘baby’ has passed away.

What ensues is incredibly touching. The whole troop of monkeys gather around to grieve the dead robotic monkey, thinking it’s one of their own.

How Langur Monkeys Grieve

Langur monkeys display a surprisingly human-like response to death, characterized by behaviors akin to mourning and grief. When faced with the loss of a troop member, particularly an infant, langurs often gather, touch, and groom the deceased, exhibiting a somber demeanor.

Emotional Intelligence in Langur Monkeys

As seen by the ‘funeral’ they held for the deceased robotic monkey, Langur monkeys have remarkable emotional intelligence.

Their response to the robotic monkey in the video is not just a reflex but a complex emotional reaction, indicating an awareness of loss and communal support. Such behaviors hint at cognitive abilities that include empathy and understanding of mortality.

Are Langurs Close Relatives to Us?

While langurs are primates like humans, they are not among our closest relatives, like chimpanzees or gorillas.

However, their emotional responses and social structures show striking parallels to human behaviors. This similarity underscores a broader evolutionary narrative, where complex emotions and social bonds might be more widespread in the animal kingdom than previously thought.

Insights From Planted Robotic Animals

These lifelike robots can infiltrate animal groups without causing disruption, allowing scientists to observe natural behaviors closely. This approach has led to breakthroughs in understanding animal communication, social structures, and even emotional responses.

Bet You Didn’t Know This About Langurs

  • Impressive Leapers: They can leap over 20 feet, using their long tails for balance.
  • Color-Changing Infants: Baby langurs are born with orange fur, which changes to grey or black as they mature.
  • Altruistic Tendencies: Langurs have been observed adopting orphaned infants, showcasing their compassionate nature.

Monkeys Grieve Robotic Monkey: Closing Thoughts

This touching video of langur monkeys grieving a robotic counterpart is a poignant reminder of the complex emotional lives of all kinds of animals. All too often we think that the emotional register is exclusive to humans, but this is clearly not the case.

Thank you for reading this article about the monkeys that grieve their robotic companion! Stay in the treetops with us and explore more monkeys:

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