62 Heartwarming Animal Photos And The Story Behind Them

Chimpanzee feeding a leopard cub at the Southam Park Zoo in the UK, 1971

Animals have the power to entertain us, to spark powerful emotions, and even reveal something about ourselves. Their triumphs and tragedies mirror our own. In the end, we all want companionship and comfort, freedom and self-determination. In these photos from the animal kingdom, we see moments of lighthearted antics and intense scenes of struggle and mortality. Are animals just like us? Well, no, but they're not aliens from the planet Remulak either. Enjoy this selection of surprising and captivating photos of our four-legged, fin-flapping, fine feathered friends. (We've even included a few fake ones that are affecting, even if they're not real.)

Source: Pinterest

Chimpanzees share 99% of our DNA, and thus are our closest genetic relatives. Still, to see a chimp feeding a baby leopard is startling -- animals don't usually look out for any offspring other than their own unless there's something in it for them. But a recent study of chimpanzees has shown they may have something in common with humans that goes beyond DNA: the trait of altruism. In 2010, scientists working in Ivory Coast observed chimpanzees actually adopting young chimps not related to them whose parents had died. Looking out for orphans is the sort of philanthropic behavior we thought, until recently, only humans were capable of. But perhaps this 1971 photo should have been a clue