Sonia Horon, Global Animal

If your 40-something-year-old dad recently bought a Lamborghini and started pumping iron, don’t worry—he is not the only one suffering from a midlife crisis. In fact, a new study shows that the animal kingdom is also affected by the condition.

A team of international researchers studying great apes assembled data from 60 different zoos around the world on more than 500 orangutans and chimpanzees, and the results indicate that apes, just like humans, seem to suffer from a lack of satisfaction when they hit their middle years. 

Feeling blue? Photo credit: Anup Shah/NATUREPL.com

The apes were evaluated by their caretakers and their behavior was scored on a scale made specifically for them. Apes usually live up to 50 or 55 years old and the results overwhelmingly pointed to a decrease in happiness during their midlife. 

This new discovery is perhaps proof that a midlife crisis is not only psychological but also biological. Midlife crises in humans is usually attributed to marriage problems, career woes, and other stressful modern life factors. But since apes do not deal with any of these issues, it’s not a big leap to assume that biology might have more to do with midlife crisis than initially thought. 

In a statement, Andrew Oswald, an economist and scientist at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, said, “It was an astounding thing for us to find this pattern, to be honest. It may be that the midlife crisis is driven by primate biology in a way we don’t understand, and if that’s the case, we all have to learn how to deal with it.”  

 

 

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