Mum monkeys ‘kiss’ their newborns, too

Study of monkey mums and babies could help trace origins of mother-baby bond

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The way one type of monkey mums bond with their babies seems amazingly similar to the way we bond and behave with our babies, scientists have discovered, reports the BBC.

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The rhesus macaque monkey mummies make exaggerated facial expressions, gaze intently at their little ones and make kiss-like gestures.

The study, which looked at 14 mum-and-baby pairs over the first two months of their lives together, may help us trace the origins of the mum and baby bond.

The monkey mums would gaze at their newborns, and at times they would take their baby’s face into their hands and gently draw it near to get a close look. They’d also ‘lipsmack’, rapidly opening and closing their mouths, which is considered an affectionate expression. Check out the video to see for yourself!

“They also touch the infant’s face with their mouths – as if they are trying to remove something. And this very much resembles the kiss that we have in our own species. Possibly the evolution of the kiss might have originated from this kind of interaction,” said Professor Pier Ferrari, from the University of Parma, Italy, and the National Institute of Health’s primate centre in Maryland, USA.

For a long time, this kind of mum and baby behaviour was believed to be a trait unique to us humans. However, some recent studies indicate chimps also have emotional interactions with their babies.

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More research could help explain why these interactions are so important and how they arose.

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