Crowdsourced Data on Elephants’ Response to Death

(p. D2) It was 2013 when Sanjeeta Pokharel first witnessed Asian elephants responding to death. An older female elephant in an Indian park had died of an infection. A younger female was walking in circles around the carcass.

. . .

For a paper published Wednesday [May 18, 2022 [sic]] in the journal Royal Society Open Science, the scientists used YouTube to crowdsource videos of Asian elephants responding to death. They found reactions that included touching and standing guard as well as nudging, kicking and shaking. In a few cases, females had even used their trunks to carry calves, or baby elephants, that had died.

. . .

Combing through YouTube, the researchers found 24 cases for study.

For the full story see:

Elizabeth Preston. “Gray Mourning: All for One, and One for All: Crowdsourcing Grieving Elephants.” The New York Times (Tuesday, May 24, 2022 [sic]): D2.

(Note: ellipses, and bracketed date, added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date May 17, 2022 [sic], and has the title “Elephants in Mourning Spotted on YouTube by Scientists.” Where the wording differs slightly between versions, the passages quoted above follow the online version.)

The paper in the Royal Society Open Science journal mentioned above is:

Pokharel, Sanjeeta Sharma, Nachiketha Sharma, and Raman Sukumar. “Viewing the Rare through Public Lenses: Insights into Dead Calf Carrying and Other Thanatological Responses in Asian Elephants Using Youtube Videos.” Royal Society Open Science 9, no. 5 (May 2022): 211740.

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