Researchers have observed a chimpanzee looking after its ‘severely disabled’ daughter in Tanzania
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.”
“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.
“The mother’s compensatory care for her infant’s disabilities and allomothering of the infant by its sister might have helped it to survive for 23 months in the wild,” they added.