Monkey mum devours baby’s corpse after carrying it in her arms for days

A monkey at a zoo in Czechia was spotted chowing down on the corpse of her own child after it died, leaving scientists baffled.

A female drill, named Kusami, gave birth to a baby boy at the Dvůr Králové safari park back in August 2020.

But the infant's life was short and it passed away just eight days after it was born from health complications.

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Following the tragic death, Kumasi carried her child's corpse around her enclosure for almost two days and refused to let keepers take away its remains, Live Science reported.

She was also spotted trying to gaze into her baby's eyes, with animal experts suspecting she may have been in denial.

"Monkeys and apes often inspect the face of their dead babies like this, possibly to perceive the eye movements," said Elisabetta Palagi, a primate biologist at the University of Pisa.

However as time went on, Kumasi became restless and, rather than lovingly carry the corpse, was seen dragging it through her enclosure.

As the second day of mourning drew to a close, Kumasi was spotted tucking into her baby's flesh.

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By the time zookeepers took the body away, she had eaten most of it – no other monkey took part in the disturbing feast.

The bizarre incident caught the attention of researchers, including Palagi, who co-authored a study into Kumasi's behaviour published in the journal Primates.

Palagi said it is unclear how many times infant cannibalism has been documented, but it is known to be "very rare".

Humans might be repulsed by Kumasi's cannibalism, but researchers now think there may be a logical explanation for the unappetising meal.

"If we consider the incredible reproductive energy investment of primate mothers, cannibalism can be considered an adaptive evolutionary trait that helps the mother to recover energy after gestation," Palagi told Live Science.

"The fact that the mother did not share the carcass with other group members supports the hypothesis of the nutritional benefit of cannibalism."

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