03 Sep '12, 5pm

4 Animals Who Mourn Their Dead

4 Animals Who Mourn Their Dead

Western scrub jays hold what we would call funerals when they encounter a dead member of their species. Teresa Iglesias and colleagues from the University of California at Davis noted that jays, on seeing a dead bird, gather around it; in the journal Animal Behavior , they write that this behavior may have evolved from needing to warn other birds of dangers. The scientists conducted experiments in which they placed a number of objects into residential yards and observed how the jays reacted. The objects included different colored pieces of wood, dead jays, mounted stuffed jays and great horned owls. The jays were indifferent to the wood. They gathered together and issued alarm calls on seeing the mounted horned owls, apparently because they thought they were predators. They sometimes mobbed the stuffed jay, a behavior displayed when seeing a competitor or a sick bird. But ...

Full article: http://www.care2.com/causes/4-animals-who-mourn-their-dea...

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