Do Apes go Through Mid-Life Crisis?

Photo by Eric Kilby on Flickr

We have undoubtedly all heard about the phenomenon of the mid-life crisis, but what you might not know is that a team of scientists have found compelling evidence that chimps and orangutans might be going through the same experience.

Humans are thought to go through a “U-shaped” pattern of happiness during their lifetime, where we start off from a high level of well-being in our younger years of adult life, after which it gradually decreases, plummeting to an absolute minimum when we are of middle-age, followed by a rise in happiness when we transition into old age.

Zookeepers and caretakers all around the world were asked to keep records of 508 apes in total, noting down their individual moods, and they found some pretty significant results: The chimps and orangutans studied seem to show a similar pattern, where their level of hapiness was high during their adolescent days, much lower during their late 20s and early 30s, and rising again after they reached an older age.

However, the results aren’t entirely water-proof, since the apes themselves can’t really tell us how they feel, so caretakers had to interpret and subsequently rate the mood of the apes they were taking care of. Nonetheless, there definitely seems to be a pattern!

Scientists are still not entirely sure why primates go through mid-life crisis, but the research may indicate that there are some biological or evolutionary factors at play, rather than just external influences, like losing your job or a growing debt.

Source: {1}

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