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Monkey midwife helps to deliver baby

Posted on Tuesday, 12 February, 2013 | Comment icon 8 comments | News tip by: Still Waters

Image credit: Robert Griner

Humans are not the only species to offer assistance to someone who is in the process of giving birth.

Birth in humans is a particularly long and painful affair that requires the presence and services of a qualified midwife. In the animal kingdom most species have it somewhat easier, in the case of monkeys birth can take place within just ten minutes, but researchers observing black snub-nosed monkeys in China recently came across something unexpected that could rewrite the book on what we know about them.

As the researchers watched, a second monkey had approached the mother giving birth as the head of the baby started to emerge. This monkey 'midwife' appeared to provide support by pulling the infant out with both hands and tearing through the birth membranes. "This is a fairly rare observation," said Sarah Turner of McGill University. "It's hard to know what's going on in her head." The question is, was the second monkey acting out of a desire to assist or was she emulating the behavior that female monkeys would otherwise do by themselves when giving birth ?

"Humans aren't built for giving birth. Babies' heads are big to accommodate their big brains, but the mother's hips are small because they walk upright."

  View: Full article |  Source: New Scientist

  Discuss: View comments (8)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Professor T on 12 February, 2013, 0:11
cool. not sure why but I liked this artical.. Perhaps because it show's that humanity is not alone in showing societal compassion..
Comment icon #2 Posted by redhen on 12 February, 2013, 6:18
Not only are we not alone, I think this shows how our empathy evolved.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Professor T on 12 February, 2013, 7:18
cool.. I think you are right... But I think it's a little more than empathy when you have young "mothers to be" being gathered around to view and learn the process.. That to me anyway, denotes a want or need for learning at a society level.. There are other mysteries about this that make you go hmmmmmmmmmm..... Such as why do this breed only give birth at night making this such a rare occurace.. (this kind of denotes a societial programming around the sacred-ity of childbirth) Society/civilisation, these are things that are often seen as human traits.......................... [More]
Comment icon #4 Posted by schizoidwoman on 12 February, 2013, 8:09
An absolutely fascinating article, thanks for sharing it!
Comment icon #5 Posted by ashven on 12 February, 2013, 15:17
No surprise for me as we're almost monkey and they're almost human.
Comment icon #6 Posted by coolguy on 13 February, 2013, 3:06
Awesome story monkeys and apes are really smart.
Comment icon #7 Posted by mfrmboy on 13 February, 2013, 17:17
Great article ! Woo woo Hee Hee Push.......
Comment icon #8 Posted by King Cobra 1408 on 17 February, 2013, 22:08
dude this this monkey is amazing and Awsome!!!that news right there!!!this is the kind of stuff they should talk about in the news!!!anyway i always found that animals are more human than real humans and nature never ceases to amaze me and will not stop:)that monkey should get a price and special treatment as in whatever those monkeys eat and etc!!! LOL

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