Animals Can Grieve

Andrew Sullivan —  Oct 30 2011 @ 8:38am

Barbara King compiles the evidence:

[F]rom a combination of observation, evolutionary logic, reading the peer-reviewed 6078878172_9b1a2ea2b2_z science literature, and talking to insightful animal people, I’m convinced that animals may feel deep grief when another animal dies. Not all species, to be sure; if spiders and snails are ever found to grieve, I’d be the first to express astonishment. But I do mean more than only the usual suspects, more than the apes, elephants and cetaceans. Right now, for example, I’m under way with a critical assessment of grief in domestic cats. I’ve concluded that yes, they do grieve. (Not every cat, and not every death; I mean to speak of capacities rather than inevitabilities.)

(Photo via Flickr user Bill Murray, who explains “Navy SEAL U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Jon T. Tumilson was among the 30 American troops killed August 6 when Taliban insurgents downed their Chinook helicopter with a rocket-propelled grenade. At his funeral in Iowa, his dog Hawkeye paid his last respects, walking up to the casket, lying down in front of it, and heaving a sigh.”)