Elephants too mourn deaths in the family

Wednesday, 2 November, 2011

A brief, though touching, excerpt from a book “Good Natured: The Origins of Right and Wrong in Humans and Other Animals”, written by Dutch primatologist Frans de Waal in 1996, describing the reaction of a herd of elephants to the death of a family member:

Afterward, the others sprinkled earth over the carcass, then went off into the surrounding bushes to break off branches, which they placed over Tina’s body. By nightfall the corpse was almost completely covered. When the herd moved off next morning, Teresia was the last one to leave. Facing the others with her back to her dead daughter, she reached behind herself and felt the carcass with her foot several times before she very reluctantly moved off.

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