Care of the Infirm and Elderly

Certainty Style Key
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True   Likely   Speculative
Human Uniqueness Compared to "Great Apes": 
Absolute Difference
MOCA Domain: 
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In most human societies, care of the infirm and elderly is part of the social system. While some cultures may allow the infirm and elderly to die for the greater good of the group, most cultures see caring for those weaker members as not only necessary, but meritorious. In contrast, great apes do not provide much care to the elderly or infirm. Generally, when apes are too weak to keep up and stay with the group, they end up being left behind to fend for themselves, usually resulting in their death. Apes depend on constant movement for foraging of dispersed food resources. Chimpanzee group members have been observed returning to visit with injured/sick group members (documenting the existence of concern for others), but transfer of food to the infirm has not been observed or documented.

Related MOCA Topics
Referenced By:
Title Certainty
Food Sharing Likely
Home Base Likely
Medicines
Moral Sense Speculative
Parental Investment

References

  1. An observation of a severely disabled infant chimpanzee in the wild and her interactions with her mother., Matsumoto, Takuya, Itoh Noriko, Inoue Sana, and Nakamura Michio , Primates, 2016 Jan, Volume 57, Issue 1, p.3-7, (2016)