Moving: Langur monkeys mourn "death" of robot baby monkey
The BBC series "Spy In The Wild" uses a very unusual strategy to observe and record how animals behave in their natural environment.
For the show, lifelike robots that look like the animals themselves are put into the group. These robots are equipped with cameras that film the behavior of the real animals. The idea is to find out how the animals behave when they think that they aren't being observed.
But when researchers wanted to study a group of Langur monkeys in Rajasthan, India, something unusual happened.
The robot they used looked like a baby Langur monkey. The real monkeys were curious about their new group member and began approaching it. They started to touch it and poke it in an attempt to get it to play with them.
And then something happened that no one expected: the "baby" was accidentally knocked over and fell to the ground where it lay "lifeless" on its back.
One of the monkeys immediately came to the baby's rescue and took it in its arms. But when the monkey noticed that the baby wasn't moving, the entire group underwent a sudden transformation.
All of the monkeys in the group thought that the baby was dead. Their body language was heartbreaking — it was clear to see that they were shocked and saddened.
They all gathered around the "dead" baby and touched it gently, as though they were paying their final respects.
The adults in the group hugged their offspring and consoled each other. Their behavior was so similar to that of mourning humans that it was almost painful to watch.
It becomes clear while watching this that feelings of sadness and sympathy are not exclusive to the human race.
You can watch this amazing display of emotion in this video:
No one could have expected that this harmless experiment would end up revealing such moving behavior from these Langur monkeys. In the end, the experiment achieved much more than originally intended — it taught us that animals have complex emotions and deep feelings of connection just like we do. It might be difficult to watch, but it's also beautiful at the same time.