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DOI 10.12887/30-2017-4-120-13

Maciej TROJAN, Julia SIKORSKA – Experiencing and Understanding Death from the Perspective of Primatology

Cena brutto: 7,00 PLN za szt.

Comparative thanatology is the study of the experience of death in nonhuman species of animals. Observations collected both in natural environments and by way of experimental research allow for capturing evolutionary homology in experiencing intense negative emotions and long-lasting heightened levels of stress.

In primates, most reports deal with mothers or other females continuing care for dead offspring. This phenomenon is varied and depends on many environmental factors. Other reports describe a two-stage reaction to mother’s death in bereaved young. A phase of intense fear is followed by apathy interpreted as depression, leading promptly to death even if the young succeed in finding a new caregiver.

Researchers have also observed certain reactions to the death of group members in adult individuals. The intensity of that reaction depends on the kind of death. The reaction to a sudden and unforeseeable death is more dramatic than to that of a death preceded by a long illness.

The tendency to seek direct contact with the cadaver depends on the sex and status of the deceased. Usually touch, social grooming, stroking, shaking or hitting is described, as well as, occasionally, moving the remains.

For most primates the reaction to death is emotion-drive based. However, we could suspect that the hominids have a certain cognitive construct of death, regarding its reversibility and the functional state of the deceased. There is no proof that any primates except for humans understand the inevitability of death and its immediate biological causes.

Keywords: comparative thanatology, primatology, hominids, death

Contact: Maciej Trojan, Zakład Etologii i Psychologii Porównawczej, Katedra Psychologii, Wydział Humanistyczny, Uniwersytet Mikołaja Kopernika, ul. Gagarina 11, 87-100 Toruń, Poland;
Julia Sikorska, Zakład Psychologii Zwierząt, Wydział Psychologii, Uniwersytet Warszawski, ul. Stawki 5/7, 00-183 Warsaw, Poland

E-mail: (Maciej Trojan) maciej.trojan@umk.pl; (Julia Sikorska) julia.sikorska@umk.pl

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» 120_Trojan_Sikorska.pdf

  1. ISSN 0860-8024
  2. e-ISSN 2720-5355
  3. The Republic of Poland Ministry of Science and Higher Education Value: 100.00
  4. Quarterly “Ethos” is indexed by the following databases: EBSCO, CEEOL, Index Copernicus (ICV 2017: 55.26), Philosopher’s Index, ERIH Plus.
  5. DOI Prefix 10.12887