Natural mortality and cause of death analysis of the captive chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes): A 35-year review

Hannah Laurence, Shyamesh Kumar, Michael A. Owston, Robert E. Lanford, Gene B. Hubbard, Edward J. Dick

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


We present the spontaneous causes of mortality for 137 chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) over a 35-year period. A record review of the pathology database was performed and a primary cause of mortality was determined for each chimpanzee. The most common causes of mortality were as follows: cardiomyopathy (40% of all mortalities), stillbirth/abortion, acute myocardial necrosis, chimpanzee-induced trauma, amyloidosis, and pneumonia. Five morphologic diagnoses accounted for 61% of mortalities: cardiomyopathy, hemorrhage, acute myocardial necrosis, amyloidosis, and pneumonia. The most common etiologies were degenerative, undetermined, bacterial, traumatic, and neoplastic. The cardiovascular system was most frequently involved, followed by the gastrointestinal, respiratory, and multisystemic diseases. Degenerative diseases were the primary etiological cause of mortality of the adult captive chimpanzee population. Chimpanzee-induced trauma was the major etiological cause of mortality among the perinatal and infant population. This information should be a useful resource for veterinarians and researchers working with chimpanzees.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-115
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of medical primatology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Chimpanzee
  • cardiomyopathy
  • lesions
  • mortality
  • pathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)

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