Like humans, our friends in the wild show grief at death and joy at birth.
By PT Staff published March 1, 2006 - last reviewed on June 9, 2016
Elephants keep vigil over the dead and appear to experience grief, says Joyce Poole, scientific director of the Amboseli Elephant Research Project in Kenya. They have even been known to collect the scattered bones of dead elephants.
Some African grey parrots are as smart and engaged as five-year-old children, according to University of Arizona animal behaviorist Irene Pepperberg. Transfixed by the movie Shrek , Pepperberg's parrot, Alex, did a joyous dance as the final credits rolled to the song, "Now I'm a Believer."
In a birth described by Emory University primatologist Frans de Waal, some 200 chimpanzees gathered silently around a laboring mother. When the newborn arrived, the mother's closest chimp friend screamed in reaction and embraced two other chimps before spending the next several weeks attending to the mother and offspring.
A mother coyote in Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park often drifted from the pack, leaving distress in her absence but eliciting joy upon her return. One day she didn't come back, animal behaviorist Mark Bekoff says. For months after, pack members "walked around with heads drooping, despondent over the loss."