One of the most powerful tools humans possess is empathy. The ability to understand the pain someone else is going through, and feel another’s loss as your own. Some misguided humans believe we are the only creatures in possession of such a trait, but it’s something many animals, including plenty of our primate cousins, share with us.
There’s no sadness quite as universal as the loss of a loved one. When a member of the family passes on, those who loved them are met with terrible sorrow. Their friends come together to grieve, not because they expect anything, but because empathy compels them.
In this video, a team of researchers in Rwanda capture an incredible moment on film. In it, a group of gorillas gather around a deceased ape to grieve. Each one gets their chance to say their goodbyes, and it’s hard not to envision human funeral rituals today.
In addition to animals’ ability to love and empathize, there’s evidence to suggest animals can also possess a sense of spirituality. Time will tell if this footage is capturing a social convention far more intricate and profound than we realize.
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