Funerals and Grieving

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Funerals and Grieving

Rather than howl with the group, wolves may bay alone after a death in the pack occurs.

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An extraordinary study of animal behavior gave us a glimpse of how chimps react to the death of a friend. It's actually a really heartbreaking read; the scientists detail the grief of the chimps and all the actions they take [source: Anderson, Gilles, Lock]. And it's not just wailing and gnashing of teeth that might parallel both human and animal behavior. The chimps took part in what we probably consider quite natural activities for any human at the death of a pal. That includes not being able to sleep, tossing and turning in bed the night after her death and even avoiding the space the chimp died in. They even removed straw from the corpse, to prepare the body.

Researchers have also showed that wolves react differently -- as a group -- to a death. For one, scientists noted that they bayed alone and didn't howl together after a death. Physically, their tails and heads were lowered and they moved slower, without play. Elephants, too, are also known for grieving, and have even shown evidence of paying "homage" to their dead by touching the corpse of another in specific patterns.

But enough sad news: let's take a look at some surprising ways animals have learned to survive.

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