Curious incident of a dead giraffe

Giraffe (NPL / C. Courteau)

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A curious incident of a deceased giraffe has reopened the question of whether animals mourn their dead.

Zoologists have witnessed a giraffe mother investigating and refusing to leave the body of her dead calf, the third such incident on record.

Other social animals such as elephants and chimpanzees are known to investigate their dead, especially the bodies of their close relatives.

Such behaviour raises the prospect that animals have a "mental model" of death.

Details of the latest incident are published in the African Journal of Ecology.

Zoologist Professor Fred Bercovitch studies on behalf of the Primate Research Institute