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What the grieving mother orca tells us about how animals experience death

For many weeks, news of a mother orca carrying her dead infant through the icy waters of the Salish Sea captured the attention of many around the world.

  • Jessica Pierce
  • The Conversation

Keeping the infant afloat as best she could, the orca, named Tahlequah, also known as J35 by scientists, persisted for 17 days, before finally dropping the dead calf.

Penth 1aThis has been one of the most protracted displays of marine mammal grieving.

Among scientists, however, there remains a prejudice against the idea that animals feel “real” grief or respond in complex ways to death. Following reports of the “grieving,” zoolo…

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