Chimpanzees going through a midlife crisis?


So what do these apes do? Buy red Ferraris? Leave their mates for some cute young bonobos?There was an interesting research about chimpanzees and orangutans midlife crises. It found that these apes too undergo emotional down terms in their mid ages like we humans do. According to a study on humans' happiness there is a cycle from 20's to 70's. It begins from a high point and tends to go downward til late 40's. When it hits the bottom, it rises back and peaks at 70's. Some scientists argue it is not a well developed idea.


What interested Andrew Oswald was not the graph itself, why it happens. He pointed out that human tendency toward midlife discontent may have been passed on through evolution, rather than resulting simply from the hassles of modern life I always thought that humans midlife crises are due to how we live these days. For examples, mid 40s are the bread winners with responsibilities to take care of children, and parents.  Moreover, pressures from workplaces can be another reason for it.

If apes experience similar emotional downturns, Oswald's theory may be plausible in some ways. He surveyed caretakers of the apes from the U.S., Australia, Canada, Singapore and Japan.Questions were like the degree to which each animal was in a positive or negative mood, how much pleasure it got from social situations, and how successful it was in achieving goals. The data was fascinating enough to prove that apes do have a similar emotional downturns in their mid ages. However,  Frans de Waal, a primatologist at the University of Emory is skeptical about this; he said "The study thus scores the well-being of animals through a human filter, perhaps introducing human bias"

Oswald was not sure what is the benefit of the midlife crises. This feeling of "restlessness" can cause parents (including apes) focus on helping find new worlds for the next generation to breed.


There are some ways to overcome this crisis for humans. First of all, a person must recognize the current state of him or herself. Then, one has to talk to her spouse or close family members for supports. The love and assurance of close relatives will provide the comfort zones. Experts suggest them to be strong and have a new positive perception to their life. So, does this apply to apes too? How should we give these advices to chimpanzees and orangutans? Or, do they already solved their ways out? If so, can their ways work for man kinds too?

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