After dating death mate traumatic
Sick or injured individuals tend to simply “disappear” — maybe they die in a hidden place, or are finished off by predators at night,” says Anderson.
“This report provides compelling evidence that non-human animals experience deep grief and loss,” says Marc Bekoff, an ethologist at the University of Colorado, who says he has witnessed similar “grieving ceremonies” in wild coyotes, elephants, dogs, red foxes, cats, crows and magpies.
Disaster struck half an hour later when she suddenly fell to the ground, remaining largely motionless except for sporadic twitching and faint groans.
He and the other females tended and groomed her for a further 50 minutes, but eventually the others retreated, leaving the pair alone.
They also hint that animals have some recognition of the finality of death.
He gently touched her hand twice and warned the others to stay away.
Thirty minutes later they climbed a tree and sat on a branch 25 metres up, where he groomed and gazed at her.
This, according to van Leeuwen, reflects research suggesting that mourning evolved to mark the passing of socially important individuals.
The behaviours follow naturally from actions necessary to sustain group cohesion, he says. “It could be adaptive, by bringing group members together to foster cohesiveness, and they might know that they need to reorganise in the absence of a former group member,” he says.