NEW YORK — Chimpanzees going through a midlife crisis? It sounds like a setup for a joke.
But there it is, in the title of a report published Monday in a scientific journal: “Evidence for a midlife crisis in great apes.”
So what do these apes do? Buy red Ferraris? Leave their mates for some cute young bonobos?
“I believe no ape has ever purchased a sports car,” said Andrew Oswald, an author of the study. But researchers report that captive chimps and orangutans do show the same low ebb in emotional well-being at midlife that some studies find in people.
That suggests the human tendency toward midlife discontent may have been passed on through evolution, rather than resulting simply from the hassles of modern life, said Oswald, a professor of economics at the University of Warwick in England who presented his work Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.