Zoologists have recorded three instances of giraffes, the world’s tallest animals, mourning their dead.
In 2010 in the Soysambu Conservancy in Kenya, a female giraffe was seen spending four days beside the body of her one-month-old calf. Seventeen other female giraffes also surrounded the body over the four days.
In 2011, a female giraffe in Zambia was seen spending two hours beside a calf who was apparently a stillborn. She splayed her legs to bend down — something giraffes rarely do, except to eat or drink — and licked the calf for several hours. This behavior was repeated for the entire two hours and was all the more notable as giraffes rarely spend time alone.
Also in 2011, a herd of giraffes in Namibia was seen investigating the corpse of a young female giraffe who had died three weeks before. Some of the male giraffes splayed their legs and sniffed the ground.
Scientists are wary of saying that some mammals have a concept of death, while noting that more species than had been thought react when one of their own dies.
But why wouldn’t animals have some response when one of their own dies? Do you think animals conceptualize death?
Photo by darkroomillusions
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