Thu, Apr 26 2012 at 2:00 PM
Chimpanzees mature very slowly. Females take 5-6 years between births, and infants usually aren't completely weaned until they are about 5. Even though they are mostly feeding themselves a good bit before then, they still depend enormously on their mothers psychologically. Sometimes others fill in psychologically when a young chimpanzee is orphaned, and, while it's not unusual for adult males to be extremely tolerant of young orphans and to give them some care, the extent to which the real "Freddie" cared for the real "Oscar" was truly extraordinary. But no one other than mothers nurse infants (obviously a male can't do that!), and an orphan who is too young and still needs that nutritional input from mom is just not going to make it. Sadly, the real Oscar was too young.