"Several phenomena have at one time or another been considered as setting humans apart from other species: reasoning ability, language ability, tool use, cultural variation, and self-awareness, for example, but science has provided strong evidence that the boundaries between us and other species are nowhere near to being as clearly defined as many people used to think," said James Anderson of the University of Stirling in reference to his observations of the safari park chimps.
"The awareness of death is another such psychological phenomenon. The findings we've described, along with other observations of how chimpanzees respond to dead and dying companions, indicate that their awareness of death is probably more highly developed than is often suggested. It may be related to their sense of self-awareness, shown through phenomena such as self-recognition and empathy towards others."
The chimps in Blair Drummond Safari Park mourned the death of an elderly member of their group. When the chimps knew Pansy was in her final days, they groomed her. Pansy's daughter even stayed near her mom's body the night Pansy passed. And the other members responded by being quieter than usual. All of the chimps were clearly affected by the chimp's passing.
The rare footage shows that chimps have developed a high awareness of death. In many ways, they get emotional just as humans do.