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Apes shown to have Midlife crisis like humans



Humans aren’t the only ones to experience ‘mid-life crisis’. Studies have shown that Chimpanzees also experience a midlife crisis; another way the animal relates to its human counterpart.

An International team of researchers assessed the well-being and happiness fo the great apes. Their research shown that well-being was high in youth, fell to al low in midlife, and rose in old age, similar to the “U-shape curve” that humans also experience. Psychologists primatologists, and economist worked together to work on the research. Results are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“What we are testing is whether the U-shaped curve can describe the association between age and well-being in non-human primates as it does in humans,” psychologist and lead author Dr. Alexander Weiss of the University of Edinburgh told BBC Nature.

Dr. Weiss believed the results would show a similar curve because of the closeness between humans, chimpanzees, and orangutans. The study showed that females and males humans, chimpanzees, and orangutans shared the same U-shaped curve despite differences in social roles. Therefore proving the phenomena is not solely a human experience.

The sample subjects included 508 chimpanzees and orangutans of varying ages from zoos, sanctuaries and research centers. The research team was aided by zoo keepers, volunteers, and caretakers who had worked with the primate subject for at least two years and had a better understanding of their behavior. the animals were numerically scorrd for well-being and happiness on a short questionnaire  which was a modified version of the a human well-being model.

Dr. Weiss explains how the research opens a lot of doors. For a long time this kind of midlife crisis was considered something specific to human society and human lives. “And what [this study] says is that it may be a part of the picture, but it’s clearly not all of the picture,” adding, “We have to look deeper into our evolutionary past that of the common ancestors that we share with chimpanzees, orangutans, and other apes,” said Dr. Weiss.


Shanika Simmons

About shanikasimmons

Shanika Simmons, senior at Spelman College, will be receiving her degree in Economics in May 2013. Raised in a small town, Shanika moved to Atlanta to further her education in 2008. Combining her love for economics and writing, she began her blog "A Broke Student's Handbook" in 2012. Since then, Shanika has received many opportunities to write for Global Good Network, TBA Magazine, and The AUC Network. Now, her blog has transformed to a place where students can find money management advice, features, tips, and budget friendly fashion ideas.

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