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Apes Have Midlife Crises Too, They Just Don’t Buy Sports Cars

Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

According to a new study, apes suffer from midlife crises, which may provide insight into why humans often have a blue period in their late 40s.

University of Warwick economics professor Andrew Oswald had caretakers and other observers assess the well-being of 508 great apes living in zoos and research centers. They discovered that apes also have a pronounced dip in happiness in their life-span-adjusted middle age.

While the human midlife crisis is often attributed to modernity, Oswald believes this finding from our animal-kingdom cousins suggests there could be evolutionary factors at play.

“We find [midlife crises] for these creatures that don’t have a mortgage and don’t have to go to work and don’t have marriage and all the other stuff,” Oswald explained. “It’s as though the U shape is deep in the biology of humans rather than a result of uniquely human experiences.”

While the midlife crisis may not be unique to humans, our way of dealing with it certainly is. “I believe no ape has ever purchased a sports car,” Oswald quipped.


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