Mama, a former matriarch of a colony of chimps at Royal Burgers Zoo in Holland, was on her last legs when she was paid a visit from professor Jan van Hooff who she first met in 1972.
The 59-year-old ape, who had been unresponsive and curled up in a ball, reacted with pure joy after recognising the professor.
She appeared to smile and screech with happiness as she touches his face, holds the back of his neck and brings his head down to hers.
Sadly, she passed away just a week after the emotional visit in April last year.
Mama was born in the wild back in 1957 and was the oldest chimp at the zoo at the time of her death.
Mama was famed for her dominant nature and was described as the “grand lady” of the colony.
Some behavioural experts who have studied chimps say the animals also mourn like humans.
Dr James Anderson, of …