This is the terrifying moment a monkey ate its own baby after carrying the corpse around for two days, for the first time in the world.
The horrifying case of cannibalism at Dvůr Králové Safari Park in the Czech Republic has puzzled scientists.
Footage of the incident was released by experts as part of a research paper published in the journal primates.
The drill monkey, named Kumasi, was filmed carrying around her infant, who died just eight days after birth.
Kumasi then carried her baby’s body around for two days, tending to it and appearing to care for her lost child.
But then she began consuming the baby’s body before the zookeepers could step in and remove the remains.
The research paper described the incident as a world first of “carrying and cannibalism of an infant in a captive drill group.”
Scientists described how the baby was apparently ill when he was born on August 24, 2020.
But in the first days of his life “no aggression” towards the baby could be observed.
Then he died on September 2 — and scientists said they couldn’t rule out “infanticide.”
And after holding the body near them for two days, zoo staff watched as Kasumi began to “completely consume” the corpse.
Just before eating it, Kumasi and the other monkeys verified that he was really dead by “pulling and twisting the corpse”.
Animal keepers eventually removed the body from the enclosure.
The article was written by the scientists of the Faculty of Biology of the University of Pisa, Grazia Casetta, Andrea Paolo Nolfo and Elisabetta Palagi.
Palagi told LiveScience, “Monkeys and apes often inspect their dead babies’ faces in this way, possibly to notice eye movements.”
“If mothers don’t get feedback from the baby, it probably means something is wrong.”
“The mother maintained a high level of personal hygiene after the death of the infant. Both the mother and other group members interacted with the dead baby, trying to hold his gaze,” the newspaper said.
“Two days after the death, the mother began to eat the corpse until it was almost completely consumed; there was no sharing with other group members.”
And the scientists admitted in the article that they have no answer to Kumasi’s shocking behavior.
They wrote: “Although we cannot draw firm conclusions about possible benefits of maternal behavior, this observation during exercise adds a piece to the puzzle of thanatological behavior and cannibalism in primates.”
However, Palagi theorized that the eating was due to the “nutritional benefits of cannibalism.”
Monkeys have been observed to eat monkey meat before – but are not believed to have ever been seen eating their own young.
“The younger the baby, the less likely it is that the mother-infant bond has become strong enough to prevent maternal cannibalism on the dead infant,” Palagi said.