Was 'Hero' Monkey Really Trying to Save Its Buddy?

Answer is not clear, one expert says
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2014 6:14 PM CST

A video showing a monkey apparently attempting to revive his companion has gone viral after being posted on YouTube this weekend, but is that really what the monkey is doing? The short answer, according to National Geographic: It's not clear. The rhesus macaques in the video are shown at a train station in India, where one of them was apparently shocked by wires and fell unconscious on the tracks. A companion is shown poking it, dragging it around, and even pouring water on it for about 20 minutes before the first monkey eventually revives. The video refers to the monkey giving its pal "CPR," but an expert says we can't know for sure what was really going on or whether the monkey's actions were intentional.

"In this particular case, does the male shaking the body of the injured individual know that by shaking it and dropping it in water, it can reanimate it?" she asks. Though the answer is not clear, she adds, the video is "an amazing representation of the complexity of primate behavior." She says that not much research has been done into how nonhuman primates react to death, but that scientists have sometimes seen them "shaking the body of the dead animal, as not accepting its immobility, and also reacting by rough behaviors seemingly aimed at reanimation." (Read more monkey stories.)

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