Chimp showed Amazing Sympathy when Volunteer said She had just LOST her Baby

In 1966, professor Roger Fouts adopted a tiny orphan chimpanzee named Washoe, whose mother was killed in Africa.

Unlike many other chimps destined for a life behind bars, their bodies used for painful scientific lab experiments, Washoe was one of the lucky ones. She went on to become the first chimpanzee to be taught American Sign Language (ASL).

As Washoe’s vocabulary grew, she and Roger developed a deep-rooted connection that spanned the next 30 years. The chimp was able to communicate fear, joy, happiness — and as one volunteer was about to discover, sadness and empathy.

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When Washoe was 17, she meet a pregnant volunteer named Kat. Washoe was absolutely fascinated by Kat, and loved to ask her questions about the baby inside her belly. But one day, out of nowhere, Kat stopped visiting Washoe. The chimp was so heartbroken that by the time Kat returned several weeks later, Washoe gave her the cold shoulder.

Kat told Washoe why she hadn’t visited in a while. Tragically, she suffered a miscarriage and lost her baby. That’s when something monumental happened. Kat signed the words, “My baby died.” Washoe signed back the words “cry” and “please person hug.”

You see, Washoe herself had given birth to two babies, and both resulted in early deaths. Washoe was sympathetic, and expressed how sorry she was for Kat’s loss. She understood firsthand the pain of losing a child.


Kat apologized to Washoe, then decided to reveal the truth: she lost her baby. Washoe stared at her, then looked into Kat’s eyes and signed, “CRY,” touching her cheek as if a tear drop was falling. This was a monumental moment, as people didn’t believe that chimps had the ability to empathize.

This groundbreaking interaction prompted researchers to give Washoe the baby she’d always wanted. She accepted the adoption of a son named Loulis, and the two were closely bonded within a day.

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Without any encouragement from the research team, Washoe taught Loulis to sign the same way a human parent would teach their children. In just eight days, Loulis knew his first ASL sign.

In 2007, Washoe passed away at age 42, surrounded by her loved ones. She left behind a powerful legacy and lesson in compassion, and proof that animals are intelligent, caring beings.


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