Let’s hear it for research: these primatologists spent years in the jungles of Tanzania teaching the local chimpanzee population to read Seventeen Magazine. Months later when the primatologists returned, they discovered that all the chimpanzees were suffering from crippling body image issues!
It turns out that the whole time the primates were reading the NYC-based bimonthly magazine, they were subconsciously comparing themselves to the unattainable standards targeted at the publication’s reader base of 13-to-19-year-old females. Who’d have thought? Now whenever the chimps see the photoshopped pictures of teen models, they feel inadequate about their bodies!
We bet Jane Goodall didn’t even see this once coming!
The most fascinating part is how the researchers were able to measure the chimpanzees’ descent into debilitating body dysmorphia. At the beginning of the study, mirrors were placed strategically throughout the chimps’ natural habitat. Initially, the primates didn’t even notice the mirrors. But by the time the researchers returned, the chimps were spending 2–3 hours a day in the mirror, sucking in their stomachs and attempting to pluck all the hair from their arms, face, and legs!
Also, by the end of the study, the primates refused to come down from the banana trees where they lived, indicating that they didn’t want the other chimpanzees to see them because of how ugly they were. And while some primates seemed to eat their feelings by binging on fruits, leaves, and nuts, others gave up eating all together and still hadn’t eaten anything by the time the researchers left.
It all just goes to show we’re more similar to our chimpanzee cousins than we ever could have imagined!