Even Chimps and Orangutans go through Mid-life crisis!

Even Chimps and Orangutans go through Mid-life crisis! December 7, 2012

We all go through mid-life crisis everywhere.  Sometimes, this issue takes a deadly form and could lead to depressions and suicide.  Yet, in other cases, it could lead to some radical shifts in life which lead to new careers and new loves.

We go through a U-shaped life.  Happy in the adolescence and then become sadder as we move on to our mid-life time.  And then in the older age, things look back up again.

But we aren’t the only ones who go through this mid-life crisis and a U-shaped life graph.  So do our cousins, the Chimps… and Orangutans!

A team led by psychologist Alexander Weiss of the University of Edinburgh asked zookeepers and researchers around the world to keep track of the well-being of resident chimpanzees and orangutans—508 animals in total. The results of all that record-keeping, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, show that, like humans, these great apes generally experience a U-shaped pattern of happiness and well-being, starting off with high ratings for happiness as adolescents, declining gradually during middle age (bottoming out in their late 20s or early 30s), and then rising back up again in their elder years.

Although popular conceptions of human mid-life crises focus on material acquisitions, psychologists believe they’re driven by an underlying decline in satisfaction and happiness as we go through middle age, and reflected by increased antidepressant use and suicide risk (Source: SmithsonianMag)

Although the Chimps haven’t really confirmed the findings as yet or shared the source of their sorrow and requested a counselor.. yet; they do display some moods, which the zookeepers recorded over time.  The study is obviously subjective.  But then, a sad person – even animals – can be identified from far.

 

 

Image credits: lightmatter; SmithsonianMag

 

 

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