She Told The Chimp She Had Lost Her Baby. What The Chimp Did Next Was Unexpected.


After reading this story you will understand how motherhood and loss are universal. Washoe, an exceptionally smart chimpanzee who knew sign language, was not happy with her caretaker Kat, who hadn’t visited for some time. However, when Kat told her that Washoe had recently lost her baby, Washoe indicated signs for grief. She even made signs for crying, even though chimpanzees are not able to cry.

What Washoe did next was unexpected. After losing two children of her own, she was given a ten month old chimp named Loulis to take care of. Washoe offered Loulis to Kat.

Of course, Kat could not accept the ‘gift’ and made sure that Washoe would adopt and take care of Loulis again. One wonders if this is how chimpanzees think in the wild. One wonders if chimpanzees trade babies with each other all the time. Perhaps adoption is a universal trait as well.