Eight-year-old boy discovers that wild pigs appear to grieve their dead

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/01/08/eight-year-old-boy-discovers-t.html


Pigs are extremely intelligent (and peccaries are not that distantly related to them), so this surprises me less than the fact that it had never been observed before.


Nice one :grinning:



If they’re so smart, why are they called peccaries? It never occurred to them how that sounds?


I don’t understand why people are always so surprised when reasonably intelligent animals display behavior that looks like emotion… Good grief! We know that animals feel fear, why wouldn’t they feel many other emotions? Sure, there are differences between people and peccaries, or dolphins, or dogs, or elephants – but it seems that anyone who has spent any time observing animals must realize that they are far from the automatons of “Enlightenment” thought. Geeze Louise!


This makes me feel bad about liking ham now. :C


Maybe it was the Ghandi of peccaries and a state funeral was required?


Just like Margaret Atwood said (Oryx and Crake).


I’m so tempted to ‘share’ this with my former boss.

Or a revolution


There would have been turkeys.

Interesting. Worthy of further study. Animal behavioral science has tended to bend over backwards to deny animal intelligence and emotion in the name of avoiding anthropomorphizing, resulting in censorship and denial of evidence to the contrary.

But-I don’t know that I see anything that is obviously grieving behavior in those clips. It may be. It may also be a variety of other things that cause the pigs to do this. Chasing away coyotes when they are stalking the herd is good business at any time. They didn’t seem to take any bites from what’s seen here, so it’s just as premature to draw a conclusion that they were interested in the carcass as food, but cannabilizing dead pigs is not unknown in the wild.

I would like to think pigs have the bonding and emotional intelligence to grieve their dead, but I need more than this to buy in.

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“Always remember, a cat looks down on man, a dog looks up to man, but a pig will look man right in the eye and see his equal.”


Well, every day, and every time it is your choice. Every new serving of pork from the shop you have the chance to say to yourself, ‘But wait, the pigs used here suffered basically every day, until they were killed for me to consume them. Maybe that ain’t what I want.’
Up to everyone, every day.

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Alternative and equally reasonable explanation: Pigs are too dumb to realize that their friend is dead and not just sleeping.

Pigs are actually quite intelligent, and have senses of smell that can put almost any other species to shame. I absolutely guarantee you (from personal experience) that it’s really easy to tell that there’s a dead javelina nearby, far before you see it. And that’s with a human nose…

Those peccaries knew that their herd-mate was rotting. I’ll leave it to the behaviorists to interpret the behavior.


To eliminate the constant stream of jokes, the biologists have renamed the genera as “coxhogs.”



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Right? That’s a big reason I can’t stand eating meat anymore. I can’t suppress my awareness of all that led to that piece of flesh appearing before me.