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Apes and Surrogacy

Apes and surrogacy has long been something which modern researchers and scientists have looked into, as well as classic fiction writers and scribes.

The 1984 movie starring Christopher Lambert, Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes, stands to be the most popular yarn touching up on the subject, with countless variations and versions of the Tarzan legend.
But as popular as the Tarzan legend and character is, no factual record telling of a human baby being raised by apes in the jungle has yet been known, but records which touch up on how infant apes and monkeys respond to “surrogate mothers” are around.

The most famous would be the circa 1950s studies of Harry Harlow, who conducted experiments delving into an infant monkey’s ascription of the maternal instinct and how infants are liable to respond to surrogate mothers.

In his study, Harlow separated infant rhesus monkeys from their mothers just a couple of hours after they were born. In a controlled environment, the researcher provided two “man-made” surrogate mothers, one constructed out of simple wire meshes and the other made with a layer of “fur”.

Both “man-made” surrogate mothers were designed with hardware components made to dispense milk. Given a choice, the infant monkeys would opt for the “man-made” surrogate mother with a layer of “fur”, rather than the one bearing a more “industrial look”.

The groundbreaking study has proven to be influential in further delving into how surrogate mothers have an effect on infants, with its implications delving into the areas of psychology, as well as emotional dynamics involved in adoption situations and cases.
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