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The Telegraph

 

Wild chimpanzee observed caring for disabled infant in ‘first case of its kind’

Wild chimpanzee observed caring for disabled infant in ‘first case of its kind’

A wild chimp has been observed caring for its disabled daughter  Photo: AFP / Getty / Michio Nakamura

For the first time in the wild scientists claim to have observed a female chimpanzee caring for an infant with severe disabilities.

A team of researchers from Japan’s Kyoto University studied a mother providing care for her daughter living in the Mahale Mountains National Park in Tanzania over a two-year period.

The infant, known as XT11, was born at the park in 2011 and displayed symptoms resembling Down’s syndrome seen in other chimps in captivity.

She lived for 23 months and researchers doubt she would have stayed alive for so long without the help and care of her mother and sister.

Michio Nakamura, an associate professor at the university, told the Japan Times: “She had a fish look and kept her mouth half-open, so we assumed she had some kind of mental handicap.”

Scientists observed the chimps for nearly two years

“The observed infant exhibited symptoms resembling Down syndrome, similar to those reported previously for a captive chimpanzee,” researchers found in the study detailed in the international journal, Primates.

 

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